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Full text of "Tea"

I liL lliiihcsl St iiuhirJ ot (Jiialil) in lea 
is touiiJ in 



NECTAR IE A. 




i, 



OiaCAROCD 



It is 
The Standard Vac 



l-or l)clici(»iis l'la\niir aiul Kcfrcshinji ;ind 
In\ i^oratin)^ Oualit\ it is unequalled. 




It is st»kl h\ l.cadinii ( irocers tlirouUliout the 

I nitet.i KiiiiiLloin and the ()\er-Seas Dominions. 

It is the I'leniier lea ()t South Atriea. 

Proprietors : 

HARRISONS ^^ (:R()SMI:L1), 



ill). 



(\\lon \N hart. K.mksidc, 

I ( )M)( >N. S.K. 



Cauxtta Caiicit ( oh»mim> IIataxia Ni-* ><>«k MumniiNh 
MllN-TIIKAl Ki;aia l.l MPt « 1 AS<;iRII- Mpuan <J«niON 



THE 



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THE WORLD THE BRITISH EMPIRE 

THE GORGEOUS EAST (India, Burma, Ceylon, and Siam) 
THE FAR EAST China, Japan, Korea) 
OCEANIA Australia, New Zealand, and South Seas) 



HOMES OF HANY LANDS 

CONTAINING 12 FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS IN COLOUR 

Large crown 8vo., cloth. Price Is. 6d. net (by post 1/10) 

INDIA 



PUBLI.SHEIJ BV ADAM AND CHARLES BLACK, 4 SOHO .SQUARE, LONDON, W. 



PEEPS AT 
INDUSTRIES 



TEA 



UMIFORM WITH THIS VOLUME 
AXD BY THE SAME AUTHOR 



SUGAR 



"The author has succeeded admirably in a somewhat 
difficult task. She has cleverly contrived to communicate 
her exhaustive knowledge of the subject without appearing 
either didactic or technical, whilst her easy colloquial style 
and the studied simplicity of her explanations arouse the 
interest and hold the attention of her readers." — British 
Medical Journal. 

" Miss Browne . . . gives a singularly full and an ex- 
ceedingly interesting account of the cultivation of the 
sugar-cane and the sugar-beet in various countries of the 
world. This is followed by a lucid account of the making, 
the exporting, and the refining of sugar. . . . Twenty-six 
instructive photographs, excellently reproduced, embellish 
and add value to the book," — Educational News. 



RUBBER 



" It is interestingly written, free from technicalities, and 
excellently illustrated. Those who wish for a 'peep' at 
this all-important industry cannot do better than read this 
little book." — Morning Post. 

" The twenty-four excellent illustrations add considerably 
to the value of the book, which is heartily recommended to 
anyone desiring a non-technical account of rubber produc- 
tion." — Nature. 



PUBLISHED BY A. AND C. BLACK, 4, 5.AND 6 SOHO SQUARE, LONDON, W. 



AGENTS 

AMERICA .... THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

64 & 66 Fifth Avenue, NEW YORK 

AUBTEALASIA . . . OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS 

ao5 FLINDERS Lane, MELBOURNE 

CAMADA THE MACMILLAN COMPANY OF CANADA, LTD. 

ST. MARTIN'S House, 70 Bond strbbt, Toronto 

IMDIA MACMILLAN & COMPANY, LTD. 

MACMILLAN BUILDING, BOMBAY 

3C9 Bow Bazaar Street, CALCUTTA 




Skeen d; Co., Colomlo 



TEA-PLAXT 
Showing flowers and seed-pods 



LIBRARY 



^ 



K \v \ / <■' / 




S-x^^^ 



Of. 



p 



NOTE 

It is> astoiii.shing how ignorant is the world as a whole 
of the great hulustries whirii maintain our oft-boasted 
civilization, and it is ignorance of this character which 
thL«* series of hooks aims to dispel. 

Produced on the same lines as the " Peeps at Manj' 
Lands " series, which has met with such remarkable 
success, these books will bring the reader into a com- 
plete understanding of all the great industries of the 
i>riti^h Empire and the world at large. Technicalities 
being avoided, there arc no impedimenta in the way 
of easy assimilation of the story and the romance of 
great manufactures. The reader is taken into the 
atmosphere and confronted with the stem realities of 
each industry', and when he has laid down the book 
he will find he has another window in his house to let 
in the sunshine of knowledge. 

The reception accorded to the volumes on Sugar 
and Rubber by the same author has encouraged the 
belief that there is a wide sphere of usefulness, and 
power of pleasure-giving, for such a series written 
from first-hand knowledge. This, the third volume, 
is devoted to the tea industry, and is similarly the 
result of experience, observation, information, and 
picture.*? harvested " on the spot." With regard to 



vi NOTE 

statistics, detailed statements have been avoided, 
and only such figures quoted as make for broad, 
general ideas. But great care has been taken to 
get accurate figures, and in this matter the author 
is indebted for valuable assistance to Messrs. Gow, 
Wilson and Stanton, Ltd., 13, Rood Lane, E.G.; to 
the Indian Tea Association (London) ; the Geylon 
Association in London ; and the Consuls or Trades 
Commissioners of the various tea-producing countries. 



CONTENTS 



cuAr 
I. 

II. 
III. 
IV. 

V. 
VI. 

vn. 

IX. 

X. 

XI. 

Xtl. 

xm. 
xnr. 

XV. 

XVI. 

xvn. 

XVIII. 
XIX. 



WE CH.\T OVBR A CVV OF TK.\ .... 1 

WB COXTINUK OUR CHAT OVER A Cl'P OF TK.\ 4 

KX ROl'TE TO A CEYIX)K TEA ESTATE - - 8 

EN ROCTE TO A CEYLON TEA B3T.\TB {continued) 13 

EX ROUTE TO A CEYLON TEA ESTATE {continued) 18 

LITE OX A CEYLOX TEA PLAXTATIOX - 23 

UFE OX A CEYLOX TEA PLANTATION {continued) 28 
A CEYLON TEA FACTORY .... .'U 

INDIA TRIUMPHANT - - 40 

TEAMAKINO IN INDIA 45 

CinXA TEA Til 

CHINA TEA {continued) - ... - rut 

IN JAPAXESB TEA-LAXDS GO 

IX JAPANESE TEA-L.\NDS {continued) - - 04 

WORK AND PI.AY IN THE TEA-L\NDS OF JAVA 68 

NUMEROUS OTHBB TEA-LANDS -71 

HOW TEA LEAVES HOMK 75 

HOW TEA LBAVBS HOME (contmuiti) 81 

THE CUP THAT CHBIRS ... g4 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



1. TEA-PLANT, SHOWING FLO WEES AND SEED PODS Frontispiece 

FACING PAOB 

2. COOLIE LINES ON AN INDIAN TEA ESTATE - - - 1 

3. A TEA-PICKEE IN NEPAL 8 

4. A TYPICAL HILL- SIDE TEA PLANTATION - - - - 12 

5. PRUNING TEA IN CEYLON 17 

6. WITHERING THE FRESH LEAVES: (1) IN FORMOSA, (2) IN 

CEYLON 24 

7. ROLLING THE LEAVES BY MACHTNERY - - - - 35 
r SORTING THE LEAVES, INDIA | 

■ "^BtTLKING TEA, CEYLON / 

„ ^TRANSFERRING TEA-PLANTS FROM NURSERY TO PLANTATION ~» 

'\SPRAYING TEA-PLANTS IN INDIA / 

10. WEIGHING THE DAY's PICKINGS 43 

,, fFERMENTING TEA IN INDIA ^ 

11.-^ \ 46 

(firing tea in INDIA / 

12. INDIAN TEA : HOEING 48 

13. A CHINESE TEA FARM 51 

, . J CHINESE BOYS PACKING TEA "i -. 

' \CHINESE BOYS PAINTING TRADE-MARKS ON TEA-CHESTS j 

15. CHINESE GIRLS PLUCKING TEA 56 

16. PLUCKING TEA IN FORMOSA 59 

17. SORTING THE LEAVES, FORMOSA 62 

18. JUNKS BEING LADEN WITH BAGS OF TEA, FORMOSA - - 65 

19. TEA-GARDEN ON TJILIWOENG ESTATE, JAVA - - - 72 

20. ON THE WAY TO MARKET 75 

21. TEA-TASTING 78 

22. SHIPPING TEA FROM INDIA 83 

23. PACKETING AND PACKING TEA, CEYLON - - - - 86 

24. PLUCKING TEA IN INDIA On the Cover 



TEA 



CHAPTER I 

WE CHAT OVER A CUP OF TEA 

All of you, I am siiro, have many pleasant recollections 
of tea-parties. At a festive gathering of this kind, you 
first met the someone who is now your greatest friend ; 
or you learnt how to play some game which has 
become your favourite pastime ; or you were recom- 
mended to make the acquaintance of a book, which 
has since bcM?n a constant sourot^ of delight to you. 

I hope that to-day's party, at which I have the 
pleasure of being your host, will be the means of adding 
much that is interesting and amusing to your store of 
happy memories. Over our tea, I am going to talk to 
you about tea, and if you come to feel that you would 
like t^ know more about this popular comnKnlity. J 
want to arrange to take you for a holiday tour among 
the countries that are the native or adopted homelands 
of the tea-])ush. Brit-fly to sum up my object in 
asking you to tea with me to-day, 1 am longing to 
awaken in you a keen desire to see with your own eyes 
the surroundings amidst which the tea-l)U8h livi»s, the 
treatment by which it is reared, the motle of life of the 
people who tend it, and the sc-ries of transformation 
scenes whereby a little green leaf is made ready for the 

1 



2 TEA 

teapot by being shrivelled into a form with which you 
are all familiar. 

Can you recall the time when you first began to take 
an interest in tea ? Let me try to assist your memory. 
Am I not right in thinking that all of you, like myself, 
can trace back the origin of that interest to nursery 
days ? You remember how much you wanted to taste 
and try the contents of the cups that were handed to 
big brothers and sisters, in those days when your cup 
was filled with milk and water ? At this stage in your 
life, you were ready enough to ask such questions as : 

"What is tea?" 

" Why is tea bad for children ?" 

And maybe you made the latter of these very general 
inquiries more of a puzzle by adding some such 
remark as : 

" Nurse couldn't play with us this afternoon because 
she had a bad headache ; but she was all right after tea, 
and then we had fine games. Was it the tea that 
made her well, mother ?" 

At last came a birthday, or some other festive occa- 
sion, on which you were promoted to drinking tea. 
For a few days after, you impatiently awaited the 
coming of teatime as a treat-time, but the regular 
repetition of the treat quickly led you into the habit 
of regarding a cup of tea as a very ordinary part of the 
repast which is named after it. Whilst getting used 
to tea as a beverage, you learnt to like it more and 
more ; at the same time, you came to think slightingly 
of tea-leaves as the mere refuse of a teapot. 

As a first step towards reawakening your intelligent 
interest in tea as a product, I will ask you to imagine 
that you have before you a collection of tea-leaves. 



WE CHAT OVER A CUP OF TEA 3 

So accustomed have you become to the popular and 
limited meaning of the name " tea-leaves," that my 
request has called up before your mind's eye a damp 
ma4i8 of tlabby, brown bodies, that have been drowned 
in a teapot. Do not blot out this somewhat un- 
pleasant picture, for in a moment it will help to 
serve a very useful purpose. Here, now, is a picture 
of those same bodies as I can see them in their 
natural state ; they are young but strong-looking green 
leaves, living on the summit of a bush in a sunny, 
P^astern land. Look at these companion pictures of the 
same tea-leaves, letting j*our eyes linger now on the 
one which shows them in the heyday of their career, 
now on the other which tells of a journej' ended and a 
purjiose served ; and as you look, think quietly by your- 
selves for a few minutes. You should find it quite 
easy just now not only to think, but to give rein to your 
imagination ; for you have been drinking tea, which is a 
tonic with the magical power of persuading people to 
make the very best of their faculties. . . . 

What is the result of your reflections ? I feel certain 
that you are now thinking of tea-leaves not as refuse, 
but as the prime source of tea ; and I am equally sure 
that there are a thousand and one questions you want 
to ask me. all in a breath, about the tea industry. 1 will 
tell you the chief events that make up the past history 
of tea ; then, if you will accept me as your guide, I will 
take you to plaws where you can gather first-hand 
information by the easy and pleasant method of watch- 
ing how things are done. 



4 TEA 

CHAPTER II 

WE CONTINUE OXTR CHAT OVER A CUP OF TEA 

The tea-plant, which, belongs to the Camellia family of 
vegetation, is a native of the Far East ; but there is 
considerable difference of opinion as to whether China 
or India has the honour of being its homeland. There 
are several varieties of the plant, the principal being 
the Assam and the China, which two are closely asso- 
ciated with the dispute between India and China. 

According to certain statements made by ancient 
Chinese authors, the tea-plant was growing in the 
Celestial Empire as early as about 2700 B.C. More- 
over, there is a Japanese legend which credits China 
with being the home of the tea-plant. India, on her 
side, cannot produce any legendary or historical evi- 
dence to support her claim that hers is the honour of 
being the original home of this plant ; nevertheless, 
she can back her case with a very sound and appealing 
argument of the " seeing is believing " character. 

The tea-plant has been found growing wild in the 
Province of Assam, in India. True, this important 
discovery was not made until the early part of last 
century ; but as the plant was certainly a wild inhabi- 
tant of the forests of Assam in the nineteenth century, 
and was then found to be occupying large tracts of 
primeval country in this Province, it is more than likely 
that it has been flourishing on the same ground from 
time immemorial. 

Consider now another important fact : no tea-plants 
have been found growing wild in China, and the ancient 



WE CONTINrE OUR CHAT OVER A CVV OF TEA 5 

history references to tea-plantb in this country do not 
speak of them as being indigenous to the soil of the 
Celestial Empire. 

And tluTi' is yet another important piece of evidence 
that favours India's claim ; the variety of tea-plant 
commonly known as " China " has Ix-en carefully 
compared by experts with the principal variety of the 
plant that was found growing wild in the Assam 
forests, namely. Camdlia Then, or Thra asftamica. As 
a result, the expt^rt opinion hn.s been expressed that 
the "China" variety is probably the Assam variety, 
changed almost beyond recognition as such by centuries 
of over-cultivation, hard pruning, and rough plucking ; 
indeed, Thea assamica is now generally considered by 
botanists to be the parent stock of all cultivated 
varieties of the tea-plant. 

Once upon a time, therefore, more than five thousand 
years ago, it would seem that a Chinaman penetrated 
the forests of Assam, discovered the tea-plant, and 
introduced it into his native land. But for so long 
after this was India ignorant of the treasure which had 
been given her by Nature, that she actually began to 
experiment in the cultivation of tea with se<'d8 and 
plants imported from China, before she discovered that 
she could obtain ample supplies for her nurseries from 
her own forests. 

To China, apparently. Ix^longs the honour of dis- 
covering that a beverage could be made from the 
leaves of the tea-plant. At what date she first began 
to turn the leaves to account is not known ; but she 
had certainly learnt how to make use of them as early 
as the fourth century B.C., for a Chinese author writing 
at this period speaks of a beverage that could be pro- 



6 TEA 

duced by steeping the leaves of the tea-plant in hot 
water. 

You are, I am sure, feeling very curious as to the 
circumstances under which tea-leaves were found to 
contain nourishment. On this particularly interesting 
question history throws no light, so we are free to 
romance. Let us imagine that we are in the heart of 
a tropical forest, thousands of miles away from any 
centre of civilization. For provisions, we are entirely 
dependent on forest supplies. When we are hungry 
we must go a-hunting with bow and arrows, or make 
search for roots and fruits ; when we are thirsty, we 
must try to find our way to a river or creek. There is 
no one to tell us which roots and fruits are good to eat, 
which are poisonous ; in sampling a new variety we 
may meet our death, or we may discover a fresh product 
that is very tasty and nutritious. But the pangs of 
hunger are keener than our fear of poison, and as, 
thanks largely to instinct, we go on eating this, that 
or the other day after day without coming to any 
serious harm, we get more and more courageous, and 
find means of making our fare more and more varied. 
And this life we are leading makes us hit upon numerous 
devices for adding to comfort or avoiding discomfort. 
For instance, we are very thirsty ; for hours we have 
been forcing our way through a thick tangle of under- 
growth, searching in vain for water. In desperation, 
someone picks a leaf, puts it in his mouth, and finding 
that he gets some relief by chewing it, advises the rest 
of us to follow his example. 

We have had but a mere peep at life in the wilds, but 
it is enough to add to our enjoyment of tea, for it 
suggests that the leaf of the tea-plant was found to 



WE continit: our chat over a rrv of tea 7 

\ i«Kl ivfrt«hiiu'ni by somo travolK-r wliu pfnetratod 
the forests of AHHam, or. maybt*, the discovery was 
!na<Ir l)y an rntorprisingsavago. IiiKiinilarly romantic 
hurrouju lings, and under tlio HtiuuihiK of hunger, thirst, 
desire for comfort, or curiosity, were discovered many 
of the raw materials that are the foundation of some 
of the world's great industries. 

To China belongs llu* honour of teaching the world 
to drink tea. The beverage became popular in that 
country during the sixth century a.d.. but it was not 
until late in the sixteenth century that Euroiw began 
to sample it. The product first came to Great Britain, 
from China, in the early part of thesevente<nth century, 
and fetched ten guineas |x»r pound. By lOGO, England 
had so far acquired a taste for tea that the beverage 
was ser\ed in London coffee-houses, those famous old 
niei'ting-plaof s for the business men, scholars, wags 
and gossips of that period ; Pepys. according to his 
■' Diary," first tasted it at one of these resorts. In 
1064 the English East India Company sent a present 
of some tea to Queen Catherine, wif«' of Charles II. ; so 
kindly did she take to the now beverage that Society 
Iwgan to patronize it, and it l)ecame the fashionable 
drink. But only the wealthy could afford to be fa^hion- 
able, for tea was then costing about GOs. per pound. 
During the next hundred years larger quant itii's were 
import<'d from China, and as it Im eame less of a novelty 
the price fell; by 1740. it coulil \x' bought for from 
7s. to 24fl. per pound, according to quality. 

The rapid ri.se (►f tea to jKjpularity dates imiI} from 
about the middle of last century. The supply then 
began to increase by leaps and bounds, and the prioo 
to fall, 88 a result of the Britihh Empire entering into 



8 TEA 

competition with China in the matter of tea-growing. 
The first British tea-plantations were laid out in India 
in 1833, and by 1854 Indian tea had won considerable 
favour in British markets. India's success induced other 
British colonies to plant tea, and the annual output 
of the product by all competitors became astoundingly 
large, the selling price was brought down by compe- 
tition among the producers, and the demand grew not 
only because tea could be purchased cheaply, but 
because people of many nationalities and all classes 
rapidly learnt to appreciate both the flavour and the 
beneficial properties of tea as a beverage. 



CHAPTER III 

EN ROUTE TO A CEYLON TEA ESTATE 

Three weeks have gone by since we met for a chat over 
a cup of tea, and decided to take a trip together to 
the tea-producing parts of the world. Meanwhile we 
have had such a happy and interesting time aboard a 
P. and 0. steamer, that now we are about to go ashore 
at the first port of call whence we can travel in comfort 
to a tea-plantation, our feelings are divided between 
excitement over treats in store and sorrow at leaving 
the ship. 

Three weeks ago, the shipmates to whom we shall 
soon be saying " Good-bye " were all strangers to us, 
we were strangers to them, and most of them were 
strangers to each other. Yet before the English shore 
had vanished from sight, aU this good ship's passengers 
were on friendly speaking terms. The Bay broke the 
ice — or, rather, the thought of it. Would it be very 




A iKA 1 I( KLl. I.S Nkl A 



EN ROITE TO A rE\'TX)N TEA ESTATE 9 

rough ? even'ono wondori'd aloud. The Hay ha|)pon<>d 
to bo asHinooth a» a pond —mascots of all doscriptiona 
wcTv brought in to dininT, tht* owner of rach quaint 
gowgaw was wrtain that Iuh huky tn-avsuro ha<l brought 
calm weather, and peals of laughtoi echoed through the 
8aK>on. Sine*' that fi-8tiv«> night the tinu« 84H>mH to 
have flown — the Bunny tlays in the Mrditerranean, 
the Arabs coming on board at Port Siiid and turning 
the upixr de k into an Kastern ba/.aar while we lay 
at anchor, the journey through the Suez Canal with 
the diiH'rt exercising its mysterious charm, the straining 
of eyes to catch a glimpse of a camel and the rubbing 
of oyes to make sure that the caravan of cAnuls was 
not a dream, the exit from Suez into the great oc4.'an, 
another series of days at sea, and a sucoession of 
8ix)rts, danc<>s and happy family parties — such is the 
crowded panorama of delightful memories that pass 
through our minds and before our eyes, and make us 
regret that we are leaving the ship which has given us 
our first glimpse of many new lands, and the people 
with whom we have made merry, shared impressions, 
and found numerous interests in common. 

No matter how attractive an object the traveller 
may have in view when he sits out on a long wa voyage, 
it is likely to b<> banished to a back place in his mind by 
the distractitms of the journey. And however strong 
may be his detorminati<Mi to study, during that 
voyage, books dealing with what he is going forth for 
t<» see, it is more than prt»bable tluit hv will barely o|>en 
a single one of the treat is<s hi* takes with him — the sea 
tempts ever5*ono to play the happy loafer. We have 
been unconsciously doing our b«»t to prove these 
general rules as to the influence of the sea ; from the 



10 TEA 

time we left the home docks, until this hour of arrivmg 
at our foreign destination, we have given no serious 
thought to the object of our trip. 

But now we are reminded of our quest by a very 
effectual medium of suggestion. See, yonder is the 
land of Ceylon, ^^^len, in our infant days, we asked 
'' \Miat is tea ?" were we not told that " It comes from 
India, Ceylon, and China " ? Moreover, in our elemen- 
tary schooldays we learnt that Ceylon is an island to 
the South of India, noted for tea. As a result of 
being fed early in life on these easily digestible scraps 
of knowledge, did we not grow up with the idea that 
there was a Siamese-twin relationship between Ceylon 
and tea ? 

Whilst we are nearing Colombo, the poUtical and 
commercial capital of the island, I want to give 3'ou 
some idea as to how important is the part that has 
been played, and is being played, by Ceylon in the 
tea industry. Ceylon ranks a very good third amongst 
the tea-producing countries of the world, when she is 
placed solely by the test of quantity. The superiority 
of India and China under this test condition is shown 
by the official records of the annual competition for 
the world's custom. For instance, in 1909 India 
exported 234,796,000 pounds of tea, China during 
practically the same period exported 199,733,000 
pounds, and Ce^'lon 192,887,000 pounds. 

Valuable light is thro'mi on Ceylon's status as a 
competitor in the quantity test by the achievements of 
the other principal tea-producing countries during the 
same year. Japan took fourth place, but as she only 
exported 40,579,000 pounds she was, as you can easily 
see, very far behind the leaders ; Java was fifth with 



EN ROITE TO A CEYLON TEA ESTATE 11 

35,882.000 pounda and Formosa sixth with 23,285,000 
pounds. Even if the exports of Japan and Formosa 
be added together and cre<lit«'d to the Japam'so Empire, 
since the Ibland c»f Formosa is a Japanese possession, 
Japan can only claim to be fourth in the running 
on the strength of a total export that was less than 
one-third of CVylon's contribution to the world's 
supply of tea. 

But Ceylon's rank as a tea-producing countrj' cannot 
be fairly estimated by a mere comparison of her output 
with that of India and China, nor does her interest in 
this role depend entirely on the bare fact that she is 
able to take such a good third place in the quant it j- test. 
There are a few more facts I want to put before you, 
and I hope 3'ou will often give them a thought when 
we !ie C<ylon tea-lands ; they will lu-lp you 

to ^. . . ^. on a fair basis, your own idea as to 

the position of Ceylon in the tea industry. But I must 
w&m you that it Is not possible to arrive at any just 
estimate of the importance of any one count rj- to that 
industry until you have st>cn what is being done as 
regards the cultivation and manufacture of tea by all 
the countries that a^ t 'ucing the C' ' 'v, and 

have studied the • r of the ^ that 

consume it. 

Tea was first cultivated in CVylon in the sixtus of 
last century. The first export of 23 pounds was sent 
to London in 1872. By 1880, the Ceylon export had 
risen to 1 15.000 pounds ; by 1883 the figures expressing 
its output ran into millions, by IS87 into tens of 
millions, and by 1896 into hundreds of millions. In 
1911 the export amounted to 187.674.990 pounds, a 
total which beat all Ceylon s past annoal records with 



12 TEA 

the exception of that of 1909. In 1880-81 there were 
13,500 acres of land in Ceylon planted up with tea ; on 
1,750 acres the plants were in full bearing. By 1911, 
Ceylon had 395,000 acres under tea, and 386,000 acres 
were in full bearing. The bulk of Ceylon tea used to 
come from plantations in the low country, but the 
best quality tea was that grown on the hills. In 1904, 
Ceylon began to take a keen interest in rubber-growing, 
and in the course of the next few years thousands of 
acres of tea-bushes were interplanted with rubber ; 
the experiment was made chiefly in the lowlands, 
because the native home of the rubber-tree — in Brazil 
— is in low country. The rubber has thrived, but only 
at the expense of the tea-bushes, which have been 
choked to death, or seriously enfeebled, by their new 
neighbours growing up into big trees and depriving 
them of light and air. Nevertheless, the production 
of tea has been kept on the increase by the more and 
more extensive cultivation ' of the tea-plant on the 
hill-sides ; and nowadays the up-country regions yield 
not only the best quality Ceylon tea, but the bulk of 
the whole island's output. At the same time, there- 
fore, that the exports are increasing, there is a tendency 
for the average quality of Ceylon tea to become higher. 
The average price realized in the London wholesale 
market by this British-grown tea in 1908 was 7|d., in 
1909 and 1910, S^d., in 1911, 8|d. ; the average price 
of Indian tea has, up to the present, inclined to keep a 
trifle ahead, but so close is the quality competition 
that during 1908, Indian and Ceylon teas commanded 
the same average price in the London market. 

One last word before we go ashore. Remember, when 
you see tea growing in Ceylon, that it is not a native 



J 



EN ROITTE TO A OEVn.ON TEA ESTATE 13 

of this country. V«ni will, I am surf, Ix* particularly 
interestetl to find what a good " settler " it can be when 
the soil and climate of a fort'ig!i land an* such a.s its 
nature demands, and it is given careful atti'Ution. 

Wo are lanciing at Colombo in time to catch the 
morning train up country, and we can save many 
valuable hours by continuing straight on with our 
journey to the estate on which we have been invited to 
stay. So we get into rickshaws, and tell the quaint- 
looking ragamuffins in the shafts to take us to the 
station. 



CHAPTER IV 

EN ROUTE TO A CEYLON TEA ESTATE {continued) 

The estate for which we are bound is situated high up 
among the mountains of Ceylon. We could reach our 
destination to-night, but this would mean a very 
fatiguing journey, and we should pass through some of 
the most beautiful of Ceylon scenery in the dark. So 
I have arranged that we break our journey nt Kandy. 
where we shall arrive in time for lunch. 

Soon after leaving Colombo, the train begins to 
cUmb. You have heard of the famous train-climb up 
the St. Gothard ? Perhaps some of you have been 
over that wondrous Swiss Pass. The route up to 
Kandy is equally advent iiresome. and the panoramic 
setting of the track entitles this line to a place of 
honour among the finest mountain railways in the 
world. There are breathless moments when we feel 
certain the engine is heading straight for the jaws of an 
unbridged chasm, exciting minutes when our earriago 
copies the mule's favourite trick of taking the extreme 



14 TEA 

edge of a steep precipice. Looking out of the window 
— peering cautiously, for there may be rocks close 
ahead — we see the train waved throughout its entire 
length, or swung into a semicircle ; and lo and behold ! 
landmarks which we first espied perched on hills far 
above our head, are now away down in a valley, their 
sites having been dwarfed into hummocks by the height 
we have climbed above them, and by the loftiness of 
the mountains among which we are now travelling. 

But there are still more wondrous sights to be seen 
from the window than those which proclaim this rail- 
way a fine engineering feat. Those terraces, looking 
from this distance curiously like the ruins of an ancient 
Greek theatre, are " paddy " or rice fields ; now we are 
passing close alongside a grove of cocoanut palms ; a 
few minutes later, and we are feasting our eyes on 
banks ablaze with orange-hued jungle flower ; we run 
through yet another wayside station, where prominent 
among fancy-dressed loiterers are chocolate-coloured 
toddlers, clad in silver bangles, silver anklets, and a 
string girdle hung with charms ; and just beyond this 
hill-station we come upon a tea-plantation dotted with 
workers in vivid-hued draperies. Having struck the 
tea-lands, we very soon become accustomed to seeing 
the hillsides, to right and left, occupied by tea-bushes ; 
in orderly array the trim shrubs stand on terraces, 
inducing us to think of them as well-trained armies 
of dwarfs marshalled for inspection. 

Kandy, our halting-place, is a thoroughly Oriental 
little town. It was the last capital and stronghold of 
the ancient Sinhalese dynasty, and less than a hundred 
years ago it was being ruled by native kings. As we 
drive up to the hotel, we pass many picturesque folk, 



i:X ROITK TO A CEYLON TEA ESTATE 15 

who represent numerous Eastern races and are of 
various " castes " or classes. 

Vou are thinking that there must bo very many 
mort' women than uivn in (his place ? Wherever you 
go in ("eylon, you will be inclined lo juniji to that same 
conclusion, for this is a land where many of the men 
wear skirts, and let their hair grow long ; in China 
you will tind the women wearing trousers, liut here 
comes a Ceylon character who looks very manly, 
albeit his costume is so unlike the apparel in which 
you are accustomed to see men clothed. This well- 
built, well-favoured individual in white trousers — 
which are verj- full to the knees, and thence tightly 
fitting to the ankles, where they are finished off with 
a frill — white shirt, and richly embroidered bolero, belt 
and hat, is a Kandyan chief. For many centuries his 
ancestors were ministers of the Kandyan kings. You 
must not expect to find such aristocratic coloured 
personages engaged in the business of preparing tea for 
market. Indeed, only a very minor part in the Ceylon 
tea indu.stry is played by the "people" of Ceylon. 
These are comjK)s<^'d of three races — viz., the aborigines, 
or Veddas ; the Ceylon Tamils, who. it is believed, origin- 
ally came over from Southern Indiii in (he renit»te past, 
and concpiered the north and east of the i.^land ; and 
the Sinhalese, who originally came over from India in 
the sixth century B.C., conquered the Tamil settlers, 
made themselves masters of the country, and were 
only subjugated as recently as 1815, when the British 
comi)leted their concpiest of the whole island by cop- 
turing Kandy. 

The staff attached to a Ceylon tea estate consists 
of a manager, two, three, or half a dozen aAsistantfl, 



16 TEA 

according to the size of the estate, an engmeer, and a 
number of labourers called " coolies." The manager, 
who is usually an Englishman or a Scotsman, is 
generally spoken of by white people as the planter ; 
among the labourers he is known as the Peria Dooray, 
which, translated from Tamil into English, means 
" big gentleman." He has his own bungalow, and on 
large estates, such as the one to which we are going, the 
planter's bungalow is a spacious, well-built, convenient 
residence, of country-seat rank. The assistants are 
also Britishers ; they chum together in a bungalow. 
Some of them are qualified overseers, others stand in 
the relation of pupils to the planter and assistant- 
master to the coolies. The pupils are officially known 
as " creepers," but among the coohes every assistant 
is a Sinna Dooray, or " small gentleman." In all 
parts of the world, more especially in districts off the 
beaten track, the enterprising Scotsman is to be found 
looking after the machinery that plays such an impor- 
tant part in the preparation of natural products ; he 
is frequently the planter's right-hand man so far as 
an estate's factory is concerned. The bulk of the 
labourers in field and factory are Tamils from Southern 
India. The Estate Tamils and the Ceylon Tamils are 
very different people to-day, although in all probabihty 
they were originally of the same race. The Ceylon 
Tamils, descended from ancient settlers in the island, 
are superior-class coloured folk. The Estate Tamils 
are present-day immigrants, who represent the very 
poor populace of Southern India. One of the men on 
whom the Ceylon tea industry is most dependent is 
the kangany, who is practically commander of the 
labour force. The kanga?iy is an enterprising native — 



V o S 

* ,-^ 3 

3 O p 

n p. 




EN ROUTE TO A CEYLON TEA ESTATE 17 

" native " being a popular name for a coloured man of 
any race, clasn, or creed — who serves the planter in 
the double role of recruiting-sergeant and sub-overseer. 
He makes jjeriodical journeys to India to arrange for 
new batches of Tamils to emigrate to the Ceylon tea- 
lands ; ho brings his recruits to the particular district 
which is his hcad((uarters, and sees them settled on this 
estate or that ; and until he is again wanted to go oil 
recruiting, he joins the staff of some plantation, and 
takes up the duties of teaching the new hands their 
work, and of seeing that a certain gang of the old ones 
are kept up to the mark. The kangany can, to a very 
great extent, please hinii^clf as regards which planter 
he will provide with recruits, and he has con.'^iderablo 
influence in the matter of arranging for the transfer 
of a coolie from one estate to another. Taijiil men, 
women and children, work for the planter ; their 
quarters are callctl " coolie lines," and arc long buiKl- 
ings of the bungalow type, which are partitioned off 
into family residences. 

" Are there any Hstate Tamils in Kandy ?" you arc 
wondering. 

Yes. a few have drifted here to take some lowly part 
in town life. There is one running in the shafts of a 
rickshaw. You notice that he has long haii' twisted 
up into a " bun," and that round his waist, hanging 
skirt-fashion, is a piece of brightly coloured cotton stuff. 
And there, crossing the roa<l, is a Sinhalese*, as witness 
the big comb which almost encircles his head, and 
which he seems to have fi.xed in his hair hind part 
before. You will come across a few Sinhalese among 
the tea-workors in Ceylon, but only a very few. They 
are not fond of regular work, but they will take part 

8 



18 TEA 

ill jungle-clearing, which has only to be done at in- 
tervals, and they are experts with the axe. 

Whilst we are having lunch at the hotel, overlooking 
Kandy's beautiful lake among the hills, I want to tell 
you something of imj)ortaiice about the estates in the 
Ceylon highlands. Ceylon, having proved by experi- 
ments that rubber would grow in this country on 
heights up to about 2,000 feet, began to plant out rubber 
seedhngs on the hillsides as a commercial venture. 
As a result of this enterprise, she has already increased 
her power as a competitor in the popular new industry 
of plantation rubber ; so much so, that more and more 
acres on the lower slopes of her hills are being trans- 
formed from tea-lands into rubber lands. Some of the 
up-country estates have tracts of rubber-trees which 
are already yielding milk ; and opposite the factory 
where the leaves of the tea-plant are dealt with, there 
is now a factory where the rubber milk is turned into 
a sohd material. On other plantations, young rubber- 
trees are growing up amidst the tea bushes, and within 
a very few years the dwarfs will be ousted by the giants, 
as was so recently the case in the lowlands. 



CHAPTER V 

EN ROUTE TO A CEYLON TEA ESTATE {continued) 

Will tea remain the staple product of Ceylon ? 

That is the question which is interesting many 
people to-day, particularly those who have business 
interests in the tea trade of other countries. And 
Ceylon's reply is, on the face of it, a very hopeful one, 
both for people who do business in Ceylon tea, and 



EN ROUTE TO A CEYLON TEA ESTATE 19 

those who are only ooncomed about its welfare because 
tliey prefer the taste of Ceylon tea to that of varieties 
grown in other lands. She points to the fact that while 
she has been building up a trade in a new pn^duct, her 
annual export of tea has continued to increase. 

Nevertheless, it must be remembered that Ceylon is 
a small island. Its area is less than half that of its 
great British rival, the Province of As.sam ; infinitesimal 
in comparison with that of China ; and very much less 
than that of some other countries which are making 
great elTorts to popularize their tea. extending the area 
under cultivation to meet an increasing demand, or 
contemplating plans for winning their way into markets 
where their particular variety of the product is not yet 
known. Although Ceylon has, up to the present, more 
than made up for diminishing the area under t( a in the 
lowlands and uplands by increasing the area under tea in 
the highlands, there is an artificial, as well as a natural, 
limit to her possibilities of making virgin highlands com- 
pensate for the traiisforniation of old tea plantations 
into new rubln'r plantations. The tea-bush will grow on 
heights up to about 7,000 feet. But nowadays, when the 
Ceylon Government sells land, the stipulation is made 
that no clearing shall be done above the height of 5,000 
feet. The wholesale clearing of jungle was threatening 
to affect the rainfall, and as the prosperity of agritul- 
tural Ceylon depends so largely on rain, it was con- 
siderecl of the utmost importance to protect the forests 
even at the expense of agricultural expan.sion. 

However, obviously Ceylon is confident that she can 
continue to increa.'^e her annual export of tea ; for she 
is making a novel bid for new customers. Her latest 
appeal is being made straight to the public, through the 



20 TEA 

medium of a tea-house at the Imperial Institute, 
London ; everyone is invited to go there, on any day 
of the week, and drink a cup of Ceylon tea. It is 
believed that all connoisseurs among the guests will 
come to the conclusion that the quality of Ceylon tea 
has greatly improved, as a result of the hive of cultiva- 
tion being now in the highlands instead of the lowlands ; 
and that many of the guests who have hitherto ordered 
" tea " from their grocer, and left him to supply any 
variety at the price named, will henceforth order 
Ceylon tea, and see that they get it. 

We spend the remainder of the afternoon at the 
world-famous Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya, which 
are within driving distance of Kandy. I can quite 
sympathize with your desire to go everywhere, and see 
everything at once, in these lovely gardens ; but time 
presses, so we must remember that we have come hither 
expressly to see what the scientists are doing to further 
the interests of the Ceylon tea industry, and must there- 
fore turn a deaf ear to the call of the beautiful tropical 
flowers and of other alluring tropical crops. An expert 
enthusiast shows us round the tea section. All the 
bushes we see here, he explains, are mediums of ex- 
periments, the object of all such experiments being 
to obtain the biggest possible yearly average of best 
quality yield per acre. Some of the plants, he tells 
us, are giving a yearly average of 4,000 to 5,000 
pounds of leaves per acre ; that is to say, about 1,000 
pounds of marketable tea, since from 4 to 5 pounds of 
fresh leaves go to the making of 1 pound of dried and 
baked material for the teapot. The experiments have 
to do with such matters as the selection of seed, 
manuring and pruning. Our attention is specially 



EN ROUTE TO A CEYLON TEA ESTATE 21 

drawn to plots of " green manures," vegetarian food 
in a natural form ; some of these plants, we are in- 
formed, have been brought from other countries, and 
are now undergoing the test as to the value of their 
nutritive properties and as to their taste or distaste for 
foreign soil. 

Back to the hotel — dinner — early to bed . . . early 
morning, and we are once more in the train, being carried 
up and up to the great liill centres of tea cultivation. 
Xow, indeed, we are amidst the tea-lands of Ceylon — 
hour after hour, as we journey on our way, we see 
mountains aliead of us rising tier behind tier, the 
while mountains to right and left of us present a high 
climbing wall and here gather at our feet into a 
mammoth bowl, bedecked round the inner rim with 
fantastic forms in bold relief ; and all these mountains 
we see around us bear a rich burden of flourishing tea- 
bushes. 

We alight at the up-country station of Haputale, 
where we find coolies awaiting us with rickshaws; and 
within a few minutes we are being jog-trotted along a 
well-made road, that corkscrews its way up a steep 
incline. On one side, this road is flanked throughout 
its entire length by a mountain-wall, on the other, it 
hangs on the edge of a precipice ; the rickshaw coolies 
hug tlie j)recipice side, but even if any of us could speak 
their language fluently, nothing we might say would 
break them of the habit for more than the next minute 
or two, and it would be more wearing to go on repeating 
the same command than it will be to brace our nerves 
80 that we can enjoy this little adventure in the way 
of a journey. 

Let me tell you a story about this ^amc road. So 



22 TEA 

far as surface is concerned, it is a fine motor-track, 
and as it is just wide enough to take a fair-sized 
car, a motor can scale it, provided the engine is 
good and powerful, and the driver has sufficient nerve 
to steer a safe course. The first car to come up this 
road belonged to Sir Thomas Lipton ; it was driven by 
an experienced English chauffeur, and carried the owner, 
who was going on an inspection visit to one of the well- 
known firm's tea estates — the same one for which we 
are bound as sightseers. The car arrived safely at its 
destination, but the chauffeur's face turned white as 
he sprang from his seat, and his Hmbs began to tremble. 
British pluck had made him stick to his post, had con- 
trolled his nerves and steadied his hands on the wheel 
until he had brought his job to a successful finish ; 
but now that a reaction bearing testimony to that pluck 
had set in, he exclaimed : " No amount of money would 
persuade me to drive up here again." 

On his next visit to the same estate, Sir Thomas 
again came up in a car, but this time the chauffeur was 
a native. The road had no disturbing effect on the new 
driver ; he was so accustomed to mountain roads, that 
although this track was probably much more hazardous 
than any he had previously taken a car along, he did 
not give a thought to danger — thereby considerably 
minimizing the risks. Impressed by the cool way in 
which he came through a feat that had strained the 
nerves of a very competent English chauffeur, his master 
took him to England. And so terrified by the London 
traffic was this " treasure," that in taking a car along 
Piccadilly, he entirely lost his head, stopped in the 
middle of the road, and weepingly declared that he 
dare not go any farther. 



KN ROUTE TO A CEYIX)N TEA ESTATE 23 

Just now this story has a moral, wbicli may .serve 
;us an excellent nerve tonic. The rickshaw coolies are 
not at all likely to stumble and drop you over the 
precipice, although they might very probably have an 
accident if they were wheeling you in a bathchair along 
1 he sea-front at Brighton. 

Fear being banished, we can cat h of us lie hack in 
our cosy carriage, and enjoy the beautiful mountain 
scenery and fresh air. All too soon this two hours' 
journey through tea-gardens comes to an end. But 
as one pleasure becomes a memory, another pleasant 
experience falls to our lot. Now we are standing on 
the threshold of a picturesque bungalow, facing a 
spacious room, which, at a glance, makes us feel that 
we have found a most comfortable Enghsh home in the 
wilds of C«ylon ; and, in the name of Sir Thomas Lipton, 
we arc being welcomed by the Peria Dooray as guests 
who are to see anything and everything they wish of 
the life on Dambatennc Tea Estate. 



CHAFIEH VI 

LIPE ON A CEYLON TEA PLANTATION 

Into your dreams comes the sound of a horn. Do not 
bestir yourselves ; the morning is yet very young. It is 
only half-past three, says the clock, and no one takes any 
notice of the watchman's first t all to shake olT slumber. 
Half an hour later, a second horn-blast echoes 
through the hills ; it, too, is born to die away uidu'cded. 
1 his day in the life of the tea-workers, in which you 
have come to take part, is not yet at its dawn ; you may 
sleep on without missing anything you want to see. 



24 TEA 

At half-jDast four, the horn sounds a third reveille, 
and this time there is nothing half-hearted in the 
summons to be up and doing ; a warning growl merges 
into a loud command, which resounds with shrill per- 
sistence. The " lines " begin to show signs of activity ; 
men, women and children rise from their mats, fires 
are lit on earthen floors, pots and pans are balanced 
on the faggots, and every member of the vast labour 
battaUon attached to the estate is soon breakfasting 
on the remains of last night's curry. Meanwhile, the 
managerial staff have risen to prepare for duty. And 
now you and I must join the awakened world, although 
darkness still tries to persuade us it is not yet time to 
get up ; but further delay would make us too late for 
the roll-call, the first scene of outstanding interest in 
the work-day history of life on a Ceylon tea plantation. 

As we dress, we have " early tea," which is to say 
a good enough meal to fortify us for several hours to 
come, and a little before six we join the Peria Dooray 
in the gallery of the bungalow. Together we make 
our way through a garden beautiful, where bowers of 
English roses and patches of sweet-scented violets 
flourish amidst a profusion of tropical blooms ; striking 
the tail end of a path through the tea-bushes, we head 
for the muster-ground, a few hundred yards distant. 

For a couple of minutes we seem to be very far 
away from the busy world ; the landscape is a deserted 
country scene, a medley of grey-green hills peering 
through grey-blue mist, and arousing admiration that 
is near akin to awe. Then, so suddenly is a transfor- 
mation effected that many of you exclaim, " Look, 
look;" and no wonder you are excited. The scene 
has now become a blaze of colour, and in the midst of 




t. t i>»ii l>;a\ t-< 



t. IN FUUMOMA 



,v . t•^ . ..V 



MFK ON A CKYLON TEA rhANTATION 2r. 

it there has been rcvcalixl a Rtago that i.s throngocl 
with men. women and chiltiren in fancy drctw attire. 
The sun has risen just as we have eonu- in sight of the 
muster-ground. Tlie Tamil crowd, that ha^ collcetotl 
on a tablehuid jilatform, coiisista of bare-footed 
figures, who.'*e brown l)odics are scnii-<lad in l)right 
re<l, green, bhie, or yellow draperies ; a few bits of 
white clothing — here some man with a white loin 
cloth, another with a length of white cotton stufT 
hanging skirt-wij«e from his waist, another with a 
white ken hief knotted about his head — emphasize the 
•^'orgeousnesa of the colour display. You begin to feel 
that this must be a holiday crowd, that all these people 
must be going for a picnic ; and you cannt)t quite get 
rid of this idea even though you hear a very business- 
like-looking Knglishman calling the roll from the steps 
of a very businesslike - looking building. When, 
presently, you see these folk on yonder hills, you will 
tind that those big baskets, which so many of them 
are carrying, are not luncheon-baskets ; that the glad 
rags and jewels they are wearing have not been put 
on in honour of a holiday ; that the leisurely way in 
which they move off when they have answered to their 
names dt)es not betoken a leisure day ahead. Never- 
theless, when you have actually scimi these people at 
w(irk, you will feel that your first impression of what 
the day had in .""tore for them wa,s after all not verj' de- 
ceptive. Compare*! with a coal-mine, for instance, or 
a city ofhce, all tea-plantations are pleasure-grounds. 
Most of the hands are out in the o|>en all day long, and 
their tasks are light ; and tho.se employeti in the fa<.*torie8 
got an abundance of fresh air, are in scrupulously clean 
surroundings, and have little or no really hard work to do. 

4 



26 TEA 

While our guide is talking business with one of his 
assistants, I want to tell you about the first steps that 
are taken to transform a tract of wild country into 
a tea-plantation. In many parts of the world, besides 
Ceylon, the virgin lands suitable for tea cultivation 
are covered with jungle — the tea-clad hills by which 
you are now surrounded were once occupied by forests. 
Whenever a tract of such land is going to be put under 
tea, a clearing has to be made. First the undergrowth 
is cut, then the trees are felled. When these prepara- 
tions are complete, a light is put to the great mass of 
unwanted vegetation. A big bonfire is soon raging, 
and when this has burnt itself out, the jungle tract 
has given place to a clearing that is strewn with 
charred stumps and a wreckage of trunks. When the 
clearing has had time to cool, stumps are extracted, 
and hoeing and path-cutting are begun. Paths are 
sometimes narrow tracks, along which it would be 
difficult for two people to walk abreast ; sometimes 
they are wide enough to be worthy the name of road. 
The narrow ones divide the land into plots and do a 
little towards helping people to move about ; the 
broader ones also serve as boundaries, provide accom- 
modating means of access, and are sometimes capable 
of being used for transport. The width of such a path 
depends very much on the nature of the country it has 
to traverse. For instance, the difficulties of making 
tracks on this estate, which is situated at an elevation 
of from 3,200 to 6,500 feet, must have been very great, 
as you will soon be realizing when we start to chmb 
the hills ; so arduous is a long walk up the steep paths 
which corkscrew a beaten track across them, that our 
kindly host has ordered four sturdy men to be in attend- 



LIFK OX A (^EVLOX TEA I'LANTATIUN 27 

anco with a carrying chair, so that wo can get a Uft, 
one at a time. Thus you can begin to imagine what a 
business it was to wedge these paths out of the hill- 
sides ; they arc miniature copies of the road along 
which wc travelled in ricksiiaws to Dambatonne, and 
you will lind the journey along them much more ad- 
venturesome — so any of you who cannot trust your 
nen'es to steady your feet had better stay behind. 

When a clearing has been made, Httlo tea plants 
are brought from an open-air nursery and put in this 
new home, where they are given plenty of room to 
grow. They are generally put in lines, a distance of 
4 feet being left from plant to plant, and a similar 
distance from line to line. We are just going to visit 
the nurseries on this estate, for our guide has rejoined 
us, and is ready to show us round. 

A short and easy walk brings us to the district where 
the young tea-plants are reared from seed. Their 
nursery is just the kind of place they like in their baby- 
hood — they are cradled in a dell, and are near a stream. 

*' What do the seeds look Uke, and how do they 
grow ?" you are wondering. 

A^JiJa-bush. ia a Howcring shrub. When in bloom, 
it has numbers of httle white or flesh-coloured blo.ssoms, 
which scent the air with a delicate perfume. The.^e 
give place to fruit, which is of a globular form, and has 
three compartments ; and in each compartment there 
is usually a single seed, which looks something like a 
chocolate-cream that has had the shine taken of! it. 
Plants grown for seed are kept apart from those grown 
for Icflf, and are encouraged to flower according to 
their natural habit, insteml of being trained to produce 
a compact and wide area of foliage. 



28 TEA 

CHAPTER VII 

LIFE ON A CEYLON TEA PLANTATION (continued) 

We now begin to climb, and for the next four hours 
we are never beyond arm's reach of a tea-bush. During 
this time we see the plant in numerous stages of growth, 
learn much about the way in which it is cultivated, and 
watch the gathering in of the harvest. 

Close by the nurseries, we come upon a plot of old 
bushes, which have been pruned. The pruning opera- 
tion is a most important part of tea-cultivation. The 
tea-plant is naturally inclined to grow up into a tree 
from about 15 to 30 feet high. It is pruned — 

To keep it from becoming too tall for the leaves to 
be easily reached by people standing on the ground. 

To encourage it to produce leaves rather than wood, 
and to induce a fresh shoot of leaves to sprout quickly 
from a bough that has had its head nipped off. 

The first pruning is generally done when the plants 
are about 2 feet high ; they are then about two years 
old, and have taken firm root in the spot to which they 
were transferred from the nursery when they were 
from six to eight months of age. Henceforth they are 
generally pruned about once a year, so as to keep them 
from 2 to 3 feet high. The operation affects the circu- 
lation of the sap ; by cutting down the centre stem, the 
sap is diverted into side branches, which are thus given 
so much vital energy to produce leaves that not only is 
the plucking surface of the bush increased, but when the 
tender top of a shoot is taken, in due course, by the 
pluckers, a fresh shoot sprouts from the decapitated one. 

The particular plot which led us to talk about 



LIFE ON A TEYLON TKA I'LAMAI ION 29 

pruniti)^ also directs our attention to another treatment 
which frequently h;is to bo reaorted to in tea cultiva- 
tion. This stretch of ground, the home of veteran 
bushes, has been manurtnl ; first, the Hnes between the 
plants were forked, and after the soil had thus been 
prepared to assimilate food, the ground was covered 
with " green " manure ; the next course on the manure 
menu consisted of basic slag and sulphate of potash ; 
the third course wtvs another covering of green manure, 
given specially with a view to prevent the artificial 
manure from being blown away. 

The tea-plant is very dependent for health and 
strength on food and drink. Before talking about its 
fads and fancies in the way of nourishment, let us 
see how Nature has equipped it with means of taking 
nourishment. It has a tap root, which descends 
straight into the ground to a depth of S or 10 feet. 
This main root is essentially a " grip," which holds 
the plant firmly in position ; it plays no very active 
part in feeding the plant except in times of drought, 
when it becomes a highly important agent by absorbing 
moisture which is then only to be found in the depths 
of the earth. From the tap root, just below the surface 
of the ground, radiate arms, which, in their turn, send 
out branches that spread in all directions; and all the 
members of this surface system throw out hair-like 
rootlets, which act as mouths. Through the.se mouths 
the plant absorbs its nourishment in a licjuid form. 

The plant requires a considerable amount of water, 
but it objects to living in a swamp. When it is grown 
on low-lying lands, very careful arrangemenUs have to 
be ma<le for drainage ; but. to a great extent, a hill- 
side plantation has a natural drainage system. 



30 TEA 

The principal ingredients which the tea-plant re- 
quires its food to contain are nitrogen, potash, lime 
and phosphoric acid. In starting a tea-plantation, it 
is considered of the utmost importance to select a site 
with a deep bed of virgin soil that is rich in these 
ingredients. But even when, as on the highlands of 
Ceylon, the chosen site has a particularly rich and 
deep bed of suitable soil when planting is begun, the 
time will come when the constant demand for nourish- 
ment on the part of a continuous crop will tend to 
make that soil give signs of exhaustion. Certain trees 
with manuring properties are planted among tea- 
bushes to provide the soil continuously with a mild 
tonic — they also serve the purpose of shielding the 
bushes from the wind. But from time to time the soil 
has to be given a special meal wherewith to make 
such food as the tea-plant requires, particularly when 
the ground has been under tea cultivation for a great 
number of years. 

The chief objects aimed at in the manuring of tea 
are : 

To keep the fertiUty of the soil up to a high standard. 

To keep the bushes healthy. 

To increase the yield of leaves per acre. 

To improve the quality of tea ; or, in the case of 
bushes already yielding very fine quality leaf, to make 
succeeding crops equally good. 

Tea-plants are not disease-proof, and there are many 
insect pests which are very Uable to work havoc amongst 
them. Naturally, they are better able to resist all 
ills when they are well nourished. Even so, they must 
be carefully watched, and at the first sign of blight 
they must be properly doctored. Sulphur is one of 



LIFK ON A CEYLON TEA PLANTATION 31 

the commonest mtilicincH for their complaints, and 
thoy are dose<l with it by means of a spray. None 
of the bushea on the plantation we are visiting is on 
the sick Hst, so we do not see any doctoring going on. 

We (limb on and on across slopes that are gigantic 
roc'keries ; and experience cannot call to memory, or 
imagination picture, more beautiful rock-gardens than 
such a.s these, where tiie all-predominating rock-plant 
is the tea -bush. Looking back, and a-down the 
slopes, the landscape ctTect is often very different, but 
always verj' beautiful. The grown-up bushes have 
such widespread branches that there is a general 
rae<'ting of neighbours, and all are thickly covered 
with leaves. As seen from a distance above, a slope 
occupietl by a shrubberj' of well-grown tea-bushes 
seems to be covered with a carpet of luxurious pile, 
fantastically patterned in restful shades of deep and 
tender green. 

At intervals we come upon a band of children who 
appear to be playing hide-and-.seek among the bushes. 
As a matter of fact, they are weeding, and upon 
watching them closely we find they are very skilful 
little workpeople. They all look healthy and happy, 
and all of them arc certainly very attractive. The 
boys might be just going to take part in a water frolic — 
they are in " bathing costume," with a fancy kerchief 
for cap ; and their brown wrists and ankles are encircled 
by silver bangles. The girls are daintily draped from 
hea<l to knees, and they seem to be very fond of 
jewellery, particularly of large ear-rings with dangling 
trinkets. 

On our way up and up we have seen, from the path- 
way-platform, many |>eople gathering tea. Now wc 



32 TEA 

leave the path and strike off at an angle into the heart 
of one of the plots where the pluckers are at work. 

You have noticed at a glance that most of the 
pluckers are women and girls, and I expect you are 
thinking that their work is very easy. If by easy, you 
mean " Ught," so far you are right. But if you are 
imagining that anyone could gather tea-leaves, without 
any training, without any intelligence, with no quali- 
fication except an uncrippled body and at least one 
hand, you are very much mistaken. Gathering tea- 
leaves is skilled labour ; and if it is unskilfully or care- 
lessly performed the quality of tea prepared from the 
crop will be impaired. 

The harvest has to be gathered from the young 
leaf-shoots of the tea-plant, and from these only the 
top must be nipped off at a particular spot. When 
the pluckers are told that a " fine plucking " is re- 
quired, they must take only the bud and two leaves, 
that is to say, pluck just below the second leaf — under 
special instructions, only the bud and one leaf are 
gathered ; for a " medium " plucking, the bud and 
three leaves are taken ; for a " coarse " plucking the 
break is made just below the fourth leaf. The bud 
gives the tip, which is the finest tea. From the 
youngest, and tenderest, leaves the " Pekoe " class of 
teas is made. " Souchongs " and " Congous " are 
prepared from the coarser leaves. 

The young leaf-shoots of the tea-plant are called 
the " flush." The first flush is the original growth ; 
the second flush is the growth from the axil, or armpit, 
between leaf and stalk on a first shoot that has had its 
head nipped off ; the third flush shoots out from the 
decapitated second, and so on. The first flush is 



LtFK OS A CEYLON TKA I'LANTATION 33 

rca<ly for |»lu< kin^ whon \\\c plant is fthout lljrco y<'ar8 
old ; onwards from this time frcsli ilushcH are very fre- 
quently being formed as a result of regular plucking, 
and the plucking area is increased by pruning. In 
Ceylon, where it is always summer-time, the tea- 
bushes flush all the year round ; and a new flush on 
any bush will reach plucking size in from eight to twelve 
days after the previous crop has been gathered. In 
the colder climates of China and Japan, the bushes 
stop flushing with the coming of winter. 

The pluckers whom we are watching are gathering 
in a harvest from which best-quality Ceylon teas are 
to be made. That is to say, they are plucking " fine '* 
— bud and two leaves. Kach one has a big basket 
on her back, hanging from a cord round her neck. 
With their sharp, well-trained eyes the women single 
out from a wealth of foliage the tender young shoots 
on the bushes before which they stand, and with a deft 
movement of the fingers and a quick turn of the wrist 
they break off the top of these shoots at the right place, 
and toss back the little plucked bits into their baskets. 

Three times a day the pluckers " weigh in " — baskets 
are emptied, leaves weighed, and the weight of leaves 
Contributed by each individual credited to her account 
in a notebook kept b}' the jissistant-in-charge. 

When an estate is situated in lowlands, and par- 
ticularly when a tract that is being plucked over ig 
near to the estate's factory, the women troop down to 
the factory to " weigh in." Here, among the high 
hills, the contents of baskets arc collected in sacks, 
which are carried down by men to the nearest station 
in connection with an aerial mono-railway-line. The 
sacks are sus{)ended on this line, and pushed off, 

6 



34 TEA 

whereupon they rush along down the perilous track 
which bridges yawning chasms, and find their own 
way safely to the factory-station. 

After we have watched the pluckers for some little 
time, we make our way to a bungalow, which is perched 
on the summit of a neighbouring peak. Here we do 
full justice to a very good breakfast, and soon we are 
feehng as fresh as when we started out on our journey' 
But although we are much looking forward to seeing 
the factory, it is with regret that we turn our backs 
on the httle chalet, whose warm hospitaUty we shall 
ever remember, and on the magnificent panorama 
which it overlooks. 

Some of the most adventurous of you are thinking 
that you would like to travel back by the aerial 
railway ? Once upon a time a new assistant, a sportive 
and sporting young " creeper," thought likewise. He 
suspended himself on the line by a wonderful appar- 
atus of his own invention, that was intended to hold 
him up comfortably, and limit his speed — for his own 
unchecked momentum might lead to a fatal smash 
at the journey's end. When he was about midway 
between the termini the apparatus played the part of 
break much too effectually, and for a very long hour 
he was hung fast in space, with his feet dangling more 
than a couple of thousand feet off the ground. 

CHAPTER VIII 

A CEYLON TEA FACTORY 

Tea leaves harbour various ingredients which make 
the beverage that can be obtained from them by in- 
fusion a pleasant and refreshing drink. Foremost in 



A CEYXON TEA FACTOKY 35 

importAncc nmongRt such ingredient* arc an essential 
oil, whiih gives the beverage its Havour, and nn 
alkaloid known as theino, which gives to the beverage 
its stimulating power. 

The object of subjecting the natural leaves to a 
process of manufacture is to preserve these ingredients, 
and to make it possible to extract their best qualities 
quickly and simply- 

The principal operations in a tea factory are : 

1. Withering. 

2. Rolling. 

3. Roll-breaking. 

4. Fermenting. 

5. Firing. 

G. Sorting into grades. 

7. Bulking. 

8. Packing into chests. 

WiTHKRiNO. — The leaves are withered in order to 
make them pliable, so that they will not break up 
during the "next process, which is rolling. A good 
wither makes them soft to the touch like velvet, or 
an old kid glove. 

In going over the factory at Dambatenne, we first 
visit the Withering Room, which is situated above- 
stairs. The scene here is typical of one of the prettiest 
sights in the industrial world. Many a time after 
witnessing it, when you are drinking a cup of tea in a 
house, shop or garden far away from the tea-lands, 
there will rise up before your mind's eye the picture 
of a long and lofty mom. fitted on «>a< h side with row 
upon row of wide .'^helves, reaching from floor to ceiling ; 
on the leaf-strewn pathway between these shelves. 



36 TEA 

which are laden more than half-way up with shallow 
trays full of leaves, you will see men in white knee- 
breeches, white jackets and amber-tinted head-dress, 
throwing leaves up to the trays on the shelves above 
their heads. And if it has already been your good 
fortune to witness a Battle of Flowers, I am sure that, 
as you stand in this Withering Room, you will tell 
yourselves you are now watching a Battle of Leaves 
which is an equally picturesque carnival scene. 

In bright, dry weather the leaves are withered by 
the sun ; in wet weather they undergo a hot-air 
treatment. 

After watching a big body of withered leaves set 
forth on their journey to the ground-floor via a canvas 
shoot, we take to the staircase and make for the 
spacious machinery department in which they undergo 
further treatment. And in visiting one after another 
of the operating chambers, we see to the finish the 
various performances, in the nature of transformation 
scenes, by which tea leaves are prepared for the whole- 
sale market. 

Rolling. — The rolling machines serve a double 
purpose. They bruise the withered leaves to enable 
the cell juices to become mixed ; and they give a curl- 
like twist to them. 

Roll-Breaking. — During the rolling process, the 
green leaves turn yellowish and get stuck together 
into little lumps. The roll-breaking machines scatter 
the masses and again give individuality to the leaves. 
In connection with a breaking machine there is a sieve, 
which separates the finest leaves from the coarser ones. 

Fermenting. — ^At fermentation stage, the most 
critical point in tea manufacture has been reached. 



A CEVLON TEA FACTORY 37 

There are no hard-aiul-fost rulcn as to tlie length of 
time necessary for the desired degree of fermentation, 
or, more correctly speaking, oxidation, to be attained ; 
the weather conditions and the special nature of the 
leaves under treatment have to bo taken into con- 
sideration. As "patients" under this treatment the 
leaves may be normal, or they may prove very stubborn 
or very docile ; and so erratic an agent is the weather, 
that on a sunny day the operation may be performed 
in twenty minutes, whilst in cool, wet weather it may 
take several hours. It is of the utmost importance 
that the oxidation shall be thorough, but, on the other 
hand, if it is over-done or under-done the tea is spoiled. 

The leaves which pass the linest-sieve test, when the 
roll-breaker first deals with a mass, arc slightly 
moistened and oxidized without further preliminary 
treatment. The coarser leaves are again dealt with 
by roller, roll-breaker and sifters before they, too, are 
moi^ened and left to oxidize. 

For oxidation purpose the leaves are thinly spread 
on mats, or on a floor made of some glazed material, 
or put into a specially designed nest of drawers to 
which the air has free access. During this stage of 
manufacture the leaves turn copper-coloured, and make 
known that their ingredients combine to form aix 
essence which has a pleasing aroma. The experts who 
superintend tea-making at this stage judge by colour 
and aroma when the right degree of oxidation has 
been reached. 

Firing. — When the leaves are suflii untly o.xidir.cd. 
they are baked dry, or, technically speaking, '* lired. ' 
In an up-to-dato factory, such as wo are visiting, the 
tiring is done iii the very largo oven of a patent furnace. 



38 TEA 

But there are many varieties of firing machines. The 
most modern have ovens fitted with travelling trays, 
whereby the leaves are carried automatically through a 
large, hot-air chamber. The object of drying the leaves 
is threefold : to prevent further oxidation ; to complete 
the evaporation of natural moisture, so that the tea juice 
can solidify on the leaves ; and to harden the leaves 
for their long journey to a teapot. When the leaves 
come out of the oven they are black ; in fact, the fresh 
green leaves from the plantation have now been 
changed into a very familiar form and colour. 

Sorting. — The tea has already been divided into 
two classes by the sifters attached to the roll-breaking 
machines — fine and coarse. In this factory the more 
correct descriptions would be " fine," and " less fine," 
for, as we saw when we were going over the plantation, 
" fine " plucking is the rule on this estate. But the 
classes have to be subdivided, which is to say " graded." 
Sifting machines, with sieves that have meshes of 
many different sizes, sort the main classes into many 
sections ; thus the Pekoe, or " top " class of black tea 
is assorted into Flowery Orange Pekoe — the finest of 
teas, in which many " tips " are in evidence — Orange 
Pekoe, and Pekoe No. 1. And any leaves of a certain 
class standard that will not pass the mesh tests are cut 
up by a breaking machine, and graded as Broken 
Pekoe, etc. The fragments that remain after grading 
are sold as " dust," or " fannings." 

After assortment, the tea is once more fired. 

Bulking. — Bulking is the process by which batches 
of tea of the same grade are mixed together so as to 
produce a large supply of uniform quality. In the 
case of Orange Pekoe, for instance, there is likely to be 




/ ,lhi / .1 .<.#o-,.t(. 



SOUTIXO TIIK I.EAVE>, IM>1.V 




Bt'LKINO TEA, rKYI.U> 



A ('KVU)N TKA FACTORY 39 

a slight variation in the qiialitj' of tlio various siftings 
that fall into this grade — the leaves, you must re- 
member, came from many diflerent plants, and some 
plants are likely to have been a little better, or a little 
worse, than others. And when the wholesale buyer 
purchases a stock of " Orange Pekoe," ho must be 
able to rely on the quality of the whole supply being 
up to sample. Therefore the batches of Orange Pekoe 
contributing to that supply must be well mixed to- 
gether before a fair sample can be taken. In bulking, 
many baskets of tea of one grade are arranged in a 
circle round a thick canvas sheet, which is spread on 
the floor of the packing room. The contents of the 
baskets are then tilted on to the sheet in a heap, and 
the heap is well shovelled inside out, and outside in. 

P.\CKiNO. — After bulking, the tea is packed into 
lead-lined, wooden chests, and is then ready to start 
on its journey to market. 

All Ceylon tea is manufactured by the up-to-date 
methods which have been specially devised to prevent 
human hands coming into direct contact with the 
product. 

Most of the teas exported by this island are of the 
black varieties. Some of the manufactured product 
known as " green tea " is, however, produced. CJrecn 
tea is made from exactly the same kind of leaves as 
black tea, and by a similar process up to the rolling 
stage. But the leaves are not fermented ; they are 
transferred straight from the rolling mat hines to copper 
pans, in which they are roasted. And from the factory 
they go to a mill in Colombo to be coloured and 
polished. Fuller's earth plays a very active part in 
the preparation of British-made green tea, and only 



40 TEA 

chemically-piire colouring matter is used. When green 
tea is being prepared for tlie American market it is 
not artificially coloured or faced. 

Green tea, like black tea, is sifted and graded. The 
best quality is known as Young Hyson, after which 
come Hyson No. 1, Hyson No. 2, Gunpowder, and 
Dust. 

CHAPTER IX 

INDIA TRKTIVIPHANT 

India set Ceylon the example of cultivating the tea- 
plant, and from India Ceylon learnt how to manu- 
facture tea. India's pupil has undoubtedly done her 
great credit, but important as is the position which has 
been won by Ceylon in connection with the world's 
tea industry, India's position is still more important, 
and, from various points of view, more interesting. 

India is first in order of general merit as a tea- 
producing country. I hope that I led you to think 
this almost at the outset of our journey. For I gave 
you official figures as to the amount of tea exported 
during a recent year by the various producing countries, 
and those figures placed India at the head of the list. 
China, I would remind you, came second. As I 
wanted you to have a clear impression that India has 
the place of honour in the tea world, and as what I 
am going to tell you now might then have confused you, 
I simply quoted the plain figures, without comment. 

The exact truth to tell, China produces considerably 
more tea than does India. And although China con- 
sumes more of her own tea than does India of her own 
tea, still the actual amount of the product exported 




Indian Tea Association 




Indian 7\a Assorialion 
I. TRANSFERRIXG TEA-PLANTS FROM XURSEIIY TO PLANTATION 
2. SPRAYING TEA-PLANTS IN INDIA 



IN'DIA TRirMrn.WT 11 

by ("liina is much larj^iM- than the ainoMiit exported by 
Iiulia. Rut inueh of tlie Chinese output is very inferior 
in quality. A great deal of it eould not, and does not 
att«'inpt to, enter into eonipetition in the open market, 
but it happens to have found spceial markets in Tibet 
and some parts of Russia. This \x)ot product, con- 
sisting of twigs and very coarse leaves which undergo 
a rough-and-ready method of so-eaHed manufacture, 
is not what the worhl at large understands by tea ; 
hence it is not taken into consideration in the com- 
pilation of statistics for the world at large. And even 
if China be credited with the whole quantity of her 
export, India must still be honoured as the superior 
competitor ; for the money value of India's animal 
export exceeds that of the total amiual export from 
China. 

Both countries, however, make between five and six 
million pounds sterling per annum by the sale of tea 
to outside customers. 

I have told you that the first British tea-plantations 
were laid out in India in the early forties of the nine- 
teenth century, withs eeds and plants obtained from 
China. Some years previous to these ex|>eriment« in 
the cultivation of China tea, travellers had begun to 
report that a sj>ecies of tea-plant was growing wild in 
Assam. By 1834, the Government of India had be- 
come so interestetl in a number of such reports. sjHH'i- 
mens of the .fVssam plant in question, and tea culture 
in general, that a Committee of Tea Culture was ap- 
pointe<l to report on the po.Hsibility of the supposed 
tea-plant of Assam being identical with the tea-plant 
that had so long boon under cultivation in China, and 
to express an opinion as to the advisability of planting 



42 TEA 

tea on the mountainous regions between Cacliar and 
Assam, along the North-West Frontier, and on the 
Neilgherries. 

The Committee decided that there was sufficient 
evidence to justify a beUef that tea-production could 
be made a commercial success in India, and forthwith 
their secretary was sent to China to obtain a supply 
of seeds and plants, and also to procure the services of 
some Chinese labourers skilled in the cultivation and 
manufacture of tea. 

But before the seeds and labourers reached Calcutta, 
further evidence concerning the Assam discovery was 
placed before the Committee, whereby they were per- 
suaded to believe that not only was the " China " tea- 
plant growing wild in the forests of Assam, but that 
the wild tea-plants flourishing there were indigenous 
to the soil they occupied. Thus it seemed that India 
was in the very curious position of being about to try 
to " naturahze " from imported seed a native Indian 
plant. 

At this juncture the Government of India sent to 
Assam a Special Commission of two botanists and a 
geologist, personally to study on the spot the nature 
of the Assam tea-plant and the conditions under which 
it was growing. As a result of their investigations, 
these specialists were able to make a more-than-ever 
startling announcement. The tea-plant was not only 
growing wild in the country of the Singphoos, as had 
hitherto been made known, but it had now been found 
scattered at intervals over the whole of Upper 
Assam. Moreover, to their surprise, these specialists 
had discovered that the situation of the plants was 
usually on the plains. Further, they had discovered 



IXDIA TRIUMPHANT 43 

that tho ten-plant vras not by nature a shrub, but a 
troo ; in some cases tho natural-growing .sporjmons 
were found to bo from forty to fifty feet high. 

Whilst the Special Commission were pursuing tht ir 
investigations in Assam, the secretary of the (Jcncral 
Committee of Tea Culture was carrying out tho in- 
structions with which he had been sent to China — 
procuring seed and the services of skilled labourers. 
As an outcome of his labours, there arrived in Calcutta, 
early in 1S30, three Chinamen experienced in tho 
preparation of black tea for the market. They were 
immediately .sent off to Assam, and with their help 
the first sample of Indian tea was manufactured in 
British India. Twelve chests of this new variety of 
the product were sent to Calcutta, and tluiue shipped 
to England. The tea had been prepared under many 
disadvantages, consequently it did not give a fair clue 
as to what might be expected in the future ; neverthe- 
less, tho report thereon by London exi^erts was de- 
cidedly favourable, and general curiosity was aroused 
thereby. 

In 1S3S the public were given a first chance of seeing 
how they liked Indian tea. A small quantity of this 
novelty was put up to public auction, and fetched 
prices varying from KJs. to 34s. per lb. The Asiatic 
Journal, in referring to tho reception it met with, re- 
marked that : — 

'* The de<ision of the public, however, has not been 
unanimous. Indies, parti(*ularly those of mature ago 
and judgment, whose jurisdiction in all matters con- 
nected with the tea-table ought not to be disputed, 
were enthusiastic in their prai.ses of the new tea, but 
many of the lords of creation, especially stout gentle- 



44 TEA 

men, whose previous habits had better qualified them 
for discussing the merits of port wine and bottled 
porter, compared it somewhat irrelevantly to chopped 
straw, and some were pleased to display their facetious- 
ness by observing that a mixture of gunpowder was 
wanted to make it go oiBf." 

As a result of these experiments with the native tea- 
plant, India became less interested in the seeds for 
which she had sent to China. Several thousand 
plants, however, were raised at the Botanical Gardens, 
Calcutta, from the imported seed, and were sent to 
Kumaon, in the Himalayas, and the adjacent provinces, 
to Assam and to Mysore. For some time experiments 
were carried on in crossing the Assam and China plants, 
there being a strong feeling in favour of the idea that a 
hybrid variety of this kind would constitute the finest 
stock. But by-and-by India came to the conclusion, 
which has proved so sound, that her best interests, 
and those of customers, would be served by a purely 
Indian stock. 

The second shipment of Indian tea was made in 
1839. It consisted of ninety -five chests; ten of 
these were given away amongst people specially inter- 
ested in the industry, and the remaining eighty-five 
were sold at public auction on March 17, 1840. This 
export fetched from 4s. to lis. per lb. 

By 1850, there were about 1,000 acres of land in 
India under tea, and the total production for the year 
was about 250,000 lbs. By 1890 the area under tea 
was 344,822 acres, and the annual production had risen 
to over 112,000,000 lbs. By 1909, India had increased 
her tea-growing area to over 555,000 acres and her 
annual production to close upon 261,000,000 lbs. Since 



TEA-MAKING IN INDIA 45 

thon. further extension of the industry has brought 
the area under cultivation up to about 5«o,(MM> acreH. 
and the aimual output to utvr 2Gl.O(»0.0(K> lbs., of whieh 
as mueh as 249,(KM),«K)0 lbs. has been exiwrted in a 
single year. 

The tea districts of Northern India arc in Assam, 
Ilengal, North -West Provinces and the Punjab ; those 
t)f Southern India are in Madras and the native State 
of Travanoore. Tlie Assam phmtations make up more 
than half of the total area under tea throughout all 
India. 

IJurma has some tea plantations, but most of their 
crop is converted into pickled tea, which is not suitable 
for European consumption, 

C'liArrEU X 

TEA-M.\KrNO IN INPI.V 

There are two classes of tea plantations in India — 
thoeo situated among hills, and those occupying plains. 

The principal hill-gardcns are on the lower ranges of 
the Himalayas, as at Darjwling, where grows the 
finest Indian tea ; at Alraora and Naini Tal in the 
United Provinces ; and in the Simla and Kangra Valley 
districts of the Punjab. There are also hill-gardens 
around Chittagong in Eastern l^>nt:al ; and in Soutiiern 
India, around Ma<lras. ^ 

The tea districts in tlu' plam.s arc tho.se of Assam, 
including the Hrahmaputra Valley, and the Surma 
Valley ; of Jalpaiguri. in ICostern B(*ngal ; and of 
Travancore. in the south. 

In setting out on our wander tour among tin* ex- 
ieusive tea-lands of this vast country, we are induced 



46 TEA 

to make straight for Assam. Not only are we drawn 
there first because it has the largest plantation area to 
be found in any tea-producing region of India, but 
because it can provide us with the new experience of 
seeing tea-bushes flourishing on plains. The situation 
and surroundings of the plants will furnish a fresh 
spectacular entertainment, and we shall get a general 
idea of the special difficulties that have to be contended 
with in the cultivation of tea on lowlands. 

Assam proper is a part of the political province known 
as Eastern Bengal and Assam. Let us take a bird's- 
eye view of that province as a whole. 

An enormous triangle, with its apex to the north- 
east, has upper and lower sides consisting of mountains 
and hills, and between them is a depression, which 
deepens and widens, merges into a base of waterways, 
and constitutes the body of that triangle. Obliquely 
through the midst of the depression runs a mighty 
river, the Brahmaputra, which is joined in its course by 
numerous streams, broad and narrow, and which in its 
turn joins the mighty Ganges and helps to form the 
great Bengal delta. The whole triangular body of this 
province is thus covered with a network of water- 
courses. And many of the large, irregular-shaped 
meshes of that network are occupied by tea-gardens. 

The largest groups of such meshes are in Assam 
proper, which was a separate province until 1905.* 

Here, now, is a picture of Assam in the not-long-ago 
days when the tea-plant was discovered growing wild 
there. The meshes are occupied by jungle, many of 
them by jungle-swamp. Nowhere are there any signs 

* At the Delhi Durbar (1911) Assam was again made a separate 
province. 




KKItMENTIN*; TEA IS IM'IA 




riRIN". TtlK IN IM'I \ 



TEA makint; in i.vdia 47 

of eivilizatiun — no towns, no roads, no railways. 
Practically the only imlications that there are any 
human beings scattered over this gigantic waste are a 
few rudely-bnill huts, and lien- and ihrn* on thr rivers 
a priniitive-h)(>king boat. 

What a very different land is Af-sam as we find it 
to-day, thanks largely to the tea-bush, and, of course, 
to the tea-planters, to the inventors of tea-making 
machinery, and, in a word, to all the pioneer forces of 
the British-grown tea industry. This tea-land has 
been the hub of that indimtry from the earliest infancy 
of the enterprise ; as we wander amidst trim planta- 
tions, travelling in comfort from place to place by river, 
road or rail, visiting numerous hospitable English 
and Scottish planters at their "country iiouses," and 
being taken by our hosts over estates that keep armies 
of labourers in constant employment, our thoughts 
naturally turn to the difliculties that it must have btx^n 
necessary to surmount in order to transform Assam 
the junglo-land into Assam the first British tea-land. 

In Ceylon we had a little talk about making a clearing 
ready for the planting of tea. Therefore your imagina- 
tion will alreatly be at work helping you to picture the 
Assam forests Ix'ing cut down and burnt, and having 
their stumps extracted. 

What became of the stumps ? 

They wen* dragged away by elephants. 

PrevioiLs knowledge returns to the aid of your 
momentarily-arrested imagination. You see seeds 
being .sown in carefully selected plots that have been 
specially prepared as nurseries, and such work as hoeing 
and path-cutting Ix'ing pursued on big expanses of 
cleared ground. 



48 TEA 

In thinking of path-cutting, j-ou are reminded that 
hills have to be terraced, and as you now happen to be 
on a plain, you are tempted to jump to the conclusion 
that the business of transforming Assam forest-lands 
into tea plantations was rendered so much less arduous 
by reason of terracing not being necessary. But there 
were highlands, as well as lowlands, to be cleared in 
Assam. Moreover, the plains were particularly trouble- 
some to drain. 

And there were two local conditions which very 
seriously hampered the pioneers of the tea industry in 
Assam — the unhealthy climate, particularly in the 
lowlands, and the scanty population. Natives of other 
parts of India had to be persuaded to set out for this 
remote and unknown part of their own vast country ; 
and recruits could only be sought for amongst such 
natives as were accustomed to living in a damp district. 
Again, when a volunteer labour-gang had been enlisted, 
it was no easy matter to arrange for the conveyance 
of the workers to the scene of the new enterprise ; the 
journey from Calcutta, the " base camp," took two or 
three months, the usual route being by water, and the 
only available boats being of a most primitive, native 
type. 

But the pioneers of the British-grown tea industry 
set themselves a still more difficult task than that of 
solving the complicated problem in connection with 
the cultivation of the tea-plant in Assam. Fired by 
the ambition that Indian tea should not only become 
famous for its quality, but should deserve and win a 
reputation for absolute purity, they determined that 
the fresh leaves should be prepared for the consumer 
by machinery, instead of being treated by hands 



I KA MAKING! IX INDIA 40 

ami fiN't according to \\\v ("liirux" nu-th(xl of iiianu- 
faotiin*. 

Timo prossoH, and we miwt bo making our way to 
other l<'a-lnnds. But U^fore we K-ave Assam. I want 
to sa}' a few words with the object of helping }ou to 
appreciate all that has been done in various parts of 
India to further the interests of the tea industry, and 
generally to bt^nefit the consumer. The foundations 
of the Indian tea trade were laid by the pione<T8 in 
Assam, whoso courageously fought against many trjing 
eircumstaneos ; but the growth of that trade to its 
present flourishing state is the result of work done by 
generation after generation of equally enthusiastic, 
hard-working and ambitious agriculturists, scientists, 
and industrial organiz«Ts. Year by year, means of 
transport have been improved ; notoriously unhealthy 
regions have been rendered more and more fit for 
habitation by jungle-clearing, drainage, and the erec- 
tion of well- planned houses for all grades of employees ; 
and, generally sjx'aking. steady progress has gnulually 
simplified the business of tea production in India. 
Nevertheless, even to-day a tea-planter there has to 
work verj- hard. 

Judging by what you saw in Ceylon, yon are, I 
ex]x*ct. incliiK'd to think that a tea- planter has very 
little time for play, no matter in what part of the world 
is the estate for which he is responsible. Henc<^ you 
are wond«Ting why I have s|x«cially drawn your 
attention to the lot of the pres<'nt-day manager of a 
tea-estate in India. 

I have already told you that tiicrc arc two cla,sses of 
tea plantations in India — those situated among hills, 
and those occupying plains. By pointing out to you 

7 



50 TEA 

certain important differences in the two classes of 
estates, I shall incidentally help you to see for your- 
selves how it is that some of the planters in India have 
an exceptional! j^ exacting post to fill. 

Grenerally speaking, the hill districts where tea is 
grown are health}^ — some of them are health resorts. 
The tea produced in these districts is less in quantity 
per acre but of finer quality than that from the plains. 
Although, generally speaking, the plain centres of tea 
cultivation are much healthier districts than in the 
days when they were mere jungle-swamps, the climate 
is apt to play havoc with the health of a white man. 
In a word, the planter located amidst the plains has to 
supervise a larger labour force, and look after a bigger 
crop in order to compete with a hill-estate's planter ; 
and very often he has to work under exceptionally 
trying weather conditions. 

I am not taking you to an Indian tea factory, because 
the whole method of preparing tea for market in India 
is similar to the method practised in Ceylon. But in 
justice to India, I must ask you specially to remember 
that she set the example of manufacturing tea by 
machinery, and of taking every precaution to supply 
the consumer with a clean commodity produced amidst 
wholesome surroundings. 

Now we will hie us to the Celestial Empire, and see 
how John Chinaman deals with the tea-plant. 



OUINA TKA 61 



CHAPTER XI 

CHINA TEA 

In China, wo do not find oxtonsivo plantations, owned 
by a Company, and workctl by a inanagfr-reprfsenta- 
tivo who controls a largo army of labourers. Instead, 
there is a large army of peaaant proprietors, each of 
whom runs a tea farm, of about four to five acres in size, 
as a means of liveliliood for himself antl family. 

The principal districts in which tea farming is carried 
on are the eastern province of Chckiang. Kiangsi, and 
Fukien ; round and about Hankow and Canton ; and 
the south-western province of Yunnan, 

The method of cultivation and the process of manu- 
facture are old-fashioned, having been handed down 
from generation to generation. 

We have come to the north-eastorn neighbourhood, 
where is proiluced a large proportion of the green and 
black China teas for foreign markets. We have just 
landed at Hangchow, the capital of the province of 
Chekiang, and, following the programme I have drawn 
up for our wander-tour in the Celestial Empire, we shall 
linger awhile in Chekiang, visiting various tea farms in 
this locality ; next go by steamer to Foochow, whence 
we can make our way into the rich, tea-growing 
province of Fukien; amd afterwards take a trip up the 
Yangtao to the river-ports of Kiukiang and Hankow. 

The time of year being early May, the harvest 
season is in full swing in t hv grc<>n tea-lands of Chekiang. 
Fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, little children, and 
oil able-bodied grown-ups, are busy gathering in the 



52 TEA 

crop, and preparing it for market ; and tiny toddlers 
are enjoying themselves in fields and sheds, playing at 
work, and unconsciously learning their first lessons in 
tea-making. 

About a fortnight ago the fields were picked over 
for the first time this j^ear ; then only the delicate leaf- 
buds were taken off the bushes, for the purpose of 
making tea of extra fine quality. Much of the tea 
prepared from this first crop is kept by the farmers 
for use on ceremonial occasions, or for presentation to 
friends, and to anyone — native or foreigner — for whom 
they have a high regard. The second flush, which is 
now being plucked, is the all-important commercial 
crop of the season. A little later on a third flush will 
be ready ; this will be the last crop of the season, and 
will produce inferior tea. 

In acting as your guide among the tea-lands of 
China, I am taking you from place to place, and showing 
you such operations as happen to be in course of 
progress at the time of our visit ; I shall not attempt to 
classify the habits and customs of the Chinese tea- 
farmer into the system he follows until you have 
collected a series of memory pictures. 

We are standing in a small field, amidst a patch of 
tea-bushes. Our near neighbours are half a dozen 
women, a man and a little girl. The women are 
plucking. Their costume consists of loose cotton 
trousers, a long coat, fastening at the side and em- 
broidered round the neck and sleeves, and embroidered 
slippers. They have very smooth, glossy black hair, 
neatly coiled at the back of the head, and cut in front 
into a fringe that forms a straight, deep band across 
the forehead. They wear very little jewellery — a 



CHINA TEA 63 

couple of bangIo8, two or three rinj^H. nnd ft pretty pin 
ornament in the hftir. Kftch haa a basket, wide at tho 
bottom ftiid tajH-riiip up to a narrow neck, shin^ round 
her waist with a girdle i>f plait<'d cane. Tlie child iH a 
wco model of lier mother, who ha,s brought her into the 
field so that nhe may keep an eye on the little one ; 
alrea<ly this girl-baby's hair is !3<'ing trained in the 
way it should go — the front has been cut fringe-wiBC, 
and the back wisp has bet^n pinned up into a little knot. 
The man is clad in loose breeches to the kn< < s. and a 
short cotton coat which looks like the upjx-r garment «»f 
a smart pyjama-suit. Three parts of the crown of his 
head is clean-shaven ; in sharp contrast to this bald 
effect appears a wealth of very dark hair, which is 
tightly braided into a pigtail. You are surprised that 
he is not showing off his pigtail to l)est advantage by 
letting it hang down his back ? He has twisted it 
around his head to prevent it from getting into his way, 
and to keep it out of harm's way, whilst he is at work ; 
just now he is setting out on a journey to yonder shed 
with a big, drum-shajx-d basket, full of leaves which he 
has collected from the pluckers. 

The sun has suddenly cf)m4' out from Ix-hind some 
clouds — in a moment a mystery i.s solved. You have 
been greatly puzzled as to what could possibly Ik? the 
connection bet we<'n tea and certain tent-like erect ions of 
compre*vsed-cone sha|x», roughly thatched with coarse 
leaves ; dotted about the ground, they caught your 
attention immediately you came into the field. As the 
harvesters put them on their hea<ls, you now discover 
that th«s«' curious artichs are hats— a quaint type of 
in toiU COS. or sunshade and umbr<*lla combined. 

An hour or so later and we are in a cottage parlour. 



54 TEA 

The principal piece of furniture in this poor apartment 
is an altar, whereon stands a joss — a well-carved idol 
of grotesque design — and a jar containing joss-sticks. 
Near by are several baskets, wherein are fresh tea- 
leaves, which have been brought hither from the fields. 

Another day we find ourselves in a shed which is 
close by a temple. One side of this outhouse is 
occupied by a row of basins, let into a brickwork 
frame ; the basins are large in circumference but not 
very deep, each being fitted at the bottom with a 
shallow pan made of thin iron, set in a general lining 
of cement. At one end of the row is a rude fireplace, 
at the other end a rough-and-ready chimney, and 
beneath the pans runs a flue. In these pans fresh 
tea-leaves are being baked into a state of softness, 
ready for rolling. It takes about five minutes to cook 
the crispness out of each batch of leaves, and much 
stirring of the contents of the pans aids in bringing 
about the desired change. In another part of the shed 
we see how the leaves are treated when they are taken 
out of the pans. Here they are spread on boards, and 
women and girls are pressing the moisture out of them 
by treading them with bare feet. Close by are several 
bamboo tables, covered with softened leaves ; round 
these tables stand more women and girls, with here and 
there a man, using their hands — very skilfully, be it 
noted — to press out the moisture from the leaves and 
roU them. 

Here is another scene which you wiU, I am sure, 
often recall : at a table in a cottage parlour sits a little 
Chinese boy, with a very long pigtail. Before him lies 
an exercise-book. In his left hand he holds a saucer 
containing some Indian ink ; in his right hand, a small 



"rn 




riiixtitt »<tYa rAiNTtxu tkaiik makk* on riu-rHKim 



CIirNA TEA rtry 

brufih. Ho is nmking up soiuf accounts for hifl father, 
in connection with the family's tea farm. The entries 
he puts in that exercise-hook are s3inh(>lH of very 
compUcated design. So rapidly and neatly do<'fl he 
make these strange characters with his paint-brush, 
that we are led Ity admiration of his handiwork to 
challenge each other to write 1, 2, ',i, and n 1> o. as 
quickly and neatly with pi'n or pencil. 



CliArrHK XU 

CHINA TEA — continued 

China produces very large quantities of green tea of 
varj'ing qualities ; also, she converts a considerable 
proportion of her anniinl tea-crop into ])lnck teas. 

Until towards the middle of the nineteenth century, 
many people believed that the two distinct classes of 
tea, green and black, were respectively prepared from 
the leaves of two varieties of the tea-plant. Thea viridis, 
and Thea liohea. A famous botanist, by name 
Fortune, finally proved beyond doubt that this idea 
was wrong. 

Fortune himself supported the very theorj' that he 
eventually disproved. Prejudiced in its favour, he 
went to China, and visited the tea-growing districts of 
Canton, Fukien. and C'hekiang. At the outset of his 
investigations, personal observation provided evidence 
which wa.s all in support of the theory to which he hnd 
pinned his faith. To his delight he found that the 
black teas of the Canton district were being prepared 
from the leaves of the Thea Bohea plant ; and when ho 
went on into the province of Chekiang, a noted centre 



56 TEA 

of the green-tea industry, lie was still more pleased, 
because here he saw that all the tea farms were planted 
lip with Thea viridis. By the evidence of his own eyes 
he had obtained " proof positive," he thought, that 
the theory to which he had given his support as a 
scientist was scientifically sound. And he journeyed 
on into the province of Fukien, famous for its black 
teas, fully expecting to find the tea farms there planted 
up with Thea Bohea. Here is his own story, as told in 
his book " Wanderings in China," of the extraordinary 
discovery he made in Fukien, and of its bearing on the 
theory which, up to this stage of his wanderings, he 
seemed so conclusively to have proved : 

" Great was my surprise to find all the tea-plants on 
the tea hills near Foochow exactly the same as those 
in the green-tea districts of the north. Here were then 
green- tea plantations on black- tea hills, and not a single 
plant of the Thea Bohea to be seen. Moreover, at the 
time of my visit, the natives were busily employed in 
the manufacture of black teas. Although the specific 
differences of the tea-plants were well known to me, I 
was so much surprised, and I may add amused, at this 
discovery, that I procured a set of specimens for the 
herbarium, and also dug up a living plant, which I 
took northward to Chekiang. On comparing it with 
those which grow on the green-tea hills, no difference 
whatever was observed. It appears, therefore, that 
the black and green teas of the northern districts of 
China (those districts in which the greatest part of the 
teas for the foreign markets are made) are both pro- 
duced from the same variety, and that that variety 
is the Thea viridis, or what is commonly called the 
green-tea plant. On the other hand, those black and 




CHINEkB KlRlJt rU'CKISn TEA 



CniNA TEA 67 

green tcaw which arc niaiiufocturcd in conHidcrablo 
quantities in the vicinity of Canton are obtained from 
the Thai liohtu, or blnck tea. And, really, when wo 
givi' tht' suhjfct our un|)r«juditvd considrration, tliero 
Boeuis nothing Hurprising in thiH Ktate of thingH. More- 
over, we muHt Ixar in uiind that our former (>]>inior)rt 
were forineil upon Htaleinenl.s nmde to uh by tlie 
Chinoeo at Canton, wlio will Kay anything which Huitw 
their pur|M)s<>, and rarely give tIienis<'IveH any trouble 
to aswrtain whether the information they communicate 
be true or false." 

The leaves of one and the same tea-plant will, there- 
fore, produce either green tea or black tea. according t^> 
the will of the manufacturer. I would remind you that 
I drew your attention to this fact in connection with 
CV-ylon (rre<'n Tea.s and (N-ylon IJIaek Teas ; and equally 
It holds good as regards Indian Green Teas and Indian 
Black Teas. But Fortune made his highly important 
discovery in the days b<'fore Ceylon Ix'gan to grow tea, 
and when India was only preparing to compete for the 
patronage of the world's great tea markets. And in 
the early stages of the struggle to make British-grown 
tea more popular than China tea. both India and 
Ceylon eoncvntraled their attention on producing 
rival gra<le« of the black variety. When these coloni<*s 
took up the green-tea branch «»f the industry, they 
knew, thanks to Tortune, that there was no need for 
them to cultivate a special kind of tea-plant for their 
purpoM) ; the manufacturing prtx'CKs alone demanded 
their K|H>eial attention, and their ambition was to 
win over customers by supplying green tea which 
should l>e of the best quality that could be purchasc'd 
at the priiv charged, and which, no matter what the 

8 



58 TEA 

quality and price, could be relied on as a wholesome com- 
modity produced under absolutely cleanly conditions. 

The peasant tea-farmers of China use no machinery, 
and their workshop is a barn, a shed, a room in farm- 
house or cottage, or maybe an outhouse belonging to 
some temple or monastery. To some such simple 
workshop, which may be a mere hovel, the freshly- 
plucked leaves are brought from the fields. The crisp- 
ness is then cooked out of them. I have already 
introduced you to the " drying-pans " in which this 
operation is performed. You have also seen the next 
performance in the general method of treatment — ex- 
pelling moisture from the leaves and rolling them by 
the aid of hands or feet. The rolled leaves are spread 
in a thin, even layer upon bamboo frames, and left to 
dry naturally ; great care must be taken to see that 
the sun does not scorch them, for it is essential that 
they shall still be soft for the next operation. After 
evaporation has been effected, the leaves are once more 
put into the drying-pans, and slowly cooked for about 
an hour ; to prevent them from getting burnt they are 
well stirred, first by hand, and then, when they are too 
hot to touch, by the help of bamboo whisks. 

The tea-cooks wear very little clothing, and perspire 
as freely as though they were taking a Turkish bath. 
If you were invited to partake of a pudding which you 
knew had been made by a cook while she was taking 
a Turkish bath, how would you feel about tasting it ? 
At first, probably you would say, "No, thank you." 
But suppose you were then told that this pudding 
was a particularly nice one, such as no other cook 
could make. Might you not feel just a little tempted 
to try it ? And suppose you were further told 



CHINA TEA 69 

that thf pudding-hnsin wft« arin'ri reach removed 
from th«' cook's |X'rspiring body during most of the 
time the pudding wtw lM«ing ma^le. and were reminded 
that in any ca«e the pudding had ninoe boon in contact 
with the purifying influence of boiUng water, might 
you not decide to taste tlie fare which was said to be 
Btich a (h^Ucacy ? And if tlie firht taste pleaded your 
palate immensely, would you not ask for more of that 
pudding ? 

People who have tasted China tea, and who 
happen to have a palate to which it appeals, argiio 
that there is reallj' no reason for anyone to feel 
squeamish about the way it is prepared. They say 
that the qualities of the tea-leaf which specially appeal 
to the gourmet can only be preserved in hand-prepared 
tea ; that the cooking of the leaves destroys any 
impurities they may have collected up to the time they 
are finally put in the drying-pans ; that any stray drops 
of perspiration which may fall on to the leaves in the 
drj'ing-pans must be completely evaporated, and that 
the cooking is fatal to germs ; that the boiling water 
which is poured on to the leaves in a teapot is a further 
purifier ; and that it is well known that tea as a liquid 
is antagonistic to the life and development of microbes. 
Tea prepared by the process I explained to you a few 
minutes ago is gr(H>n when it is taken out of the drj'ing- 
pans. Hut when it is int«'nded for export, the colour is 
usually intensified by artificial means, and the surface 
fac^nl, or polished. Tin- tea is sifted and sorted, by 
hand labour and the aid of baski'ts. and finally pack« d 
in wooden cases, baskets or bags. 

Black tea is prepared by a very similar proc<-ss, but 
after the rolling oixjration the leaves are left spread out 



60 TEA 

on the bamboo frames until the influence of the air 
induces fermentation. 

3Iuch of the tea exported by China is compressed 
into " bricks " or into " tablets." Brick Tea, usually 
of wretched quality, is a roughly prepared mixture of 
coarse leaves and twigs, thrown into a mould, and 
pressed into brick-like blocks. Enormous quantities 
of this poor stuff are made at Yachou, in the province 
of Sechwan, and at Hankow. The principal importers 
are Tibet and jVIongolia ; there are also markets for it 
in some parts of Eussia. Tablet Tea is a very different 
article, being a compression of good quality tea dust. 
It is made in large quantities at Hankow, and Russia 
is a very good customer for it. 



CHAPTER XIII 

IN JAPANESE TEA-LANDS 

Tea bushes were first planted in Japan about 1,200 
years ago. But it was not until about 1750 that tea 
was first exported from that country by some Chinese 
merchants of Nagasaki. Rather more than a hundred 
years later, in 1859, Yokohama and Kobe were opened 
to foreign commerce, and with these two new open ports 
in addition to Nagasaki, as outlets to foreign markets, 
the Japanese tea-trade increased considerably. At 
first England was a very good customer, but by 
about 1871 she had practically stopped patronizing the 
Japanese product, owing to the development of the tea 
industry in Ceylon and India. Nevertheless, British 
competition has not by any means had the same disas- 



IN JAPANESE TEA-LANDS 61 

irons elTccts on the tctt-trade of .Japan aw on that of 
China. 

Thci'hit'f tea-pitMhii inj;(Ui<tri<tsarcShizui»ka, — which 
contains rather more than one fifth of the whole acreage 
under tea in Japan, — Miye, Ibaragi, Kyoto. Kumamoto, 
and Fukuoka. 

The tea-plant is cultivate<l on large farms, some of 
which are of a size that entitles them to the more digni- 
fie<l name of " plantation."* and on small plots of ^ntund 
in connection with homesteads, (lenerally speaking, 
the favourite site for a tea-farm is on the lower slopes 
of the hills ; but there are some very good plantations, 
notably the celebrated Uji tea-gardens, on the plains. 

When first we land on Japanese shores, it seems to us 
that a Western civilization is doing its best to make 
us feel '* at home." lUit as we get further and further 
away from town life, and penetrate into the heart of the 
country we discover " Old Japan." Wandering amidst 
the tea-lands, and mixing with the country folk who 
tend the tea, wc are brought under the fascination of 
the land which isworld-renowned for its power to charm. 
True, there are up to-datc factory buildings to remind 
us that the spirit of progress has a widespread influence ; 
but the outstanding features of our surroundings are 
artistic rather than commercial. Indeed, we ar© 
tempted to ignore the factories as insignificant, and 
thereby do Japan a great injustice, so greedy are we 
to feast on the enjoyment that is provided by the 
magnififent hill scenery, by the sa< red .N!ount " Fuji." 
by fairy-like btiildingH dotted aborit rural slo|X's and 
plains amidst an atmosphere that is ehargc>il with 
romance, and by the habits, customs and picturesque 
national costumes of the quaint little Japs. 



62 TEA 

Frequently we find tea-bushes growing in company 
with other crops, such as mulberries and plums. And 
in the Uji district the tea-lands have yet another novel 
spectacle to show us in connection with cultivation 
methods. Here the tea-bushes are grown under cover 
for part of the year. A framework of bamboo poles 
supports a roof of mats, which shades the plants, with 
the object of inducing them to bear leaves of a superfine 
quality and of a very dark-green colour. When the 
crop has been gathered, the sunshade erection is re- 
moved. 

The tea harvest season in Japan begins about 
May ; usually, two crops are gathered annually, a 
second flush bemg ready for plucking towards the 
middle of June. Sometimes the bushes are picked 
over a third time, but the resulting crop consists of 
inferior quality leaves. 

The teas prepared in Japan are, for the most part, 
green. Commercial instinct and intercourse with the 
world have taught the Japanese to keep well abreast 
of the times in the tea industry ; they use modern 
machinery in the preparation of the bulk of the teas 
for foreign markets. But such skilled handicraftsmen 
could hardly be expected to acknowledge the superi- 
ority of a machine in any industry ; and it must be 
difficult for a nation that is so cleanly as to be world- 
famous for its cleanliness to understand why the 
world-at-large prefers machine-prepared to hand- 
prepared food supplies. However, since the foreigner 
demands machine-prepared tea, the Jap in his role of 
competitor for foreign custom has erected factories, 
installed machinery, and is on the alert to please the 
taste and fancy of the public without his gates. But 



IN JAPANESE TEA-LANDS 63 

it is a signiticant fact that the bulk of Japanese tcaa 
for homo consumption arc prepared by the old-fa«hioned 
hand method. It is interesting to note that tliose arti«t« 
in hfe, the Japanese, not only uphold by force of example 
the argument that machinery tends to impair tho 
quality of tca-lcaves, but oven when there is business 
at stake they do not suppress their private opinion 
on this point. In a booklet published as recently as 
191 1 by the " Japan Central Tea Traders Association," 
written in Knglish, and addressed from their head- 
quarters at Tokyo to tea drijikers in general, and to 
their best customers, the Americans, in particular, 
the '* peculiar characteristics and strong points of Japan 
Tea in preference to all other kinds of tea " are sum- 
marized in a most persua^^ive manner. Herein we are 
told that " the most modern methods of manufacture 
by specially designed machinery succeed in retaining 
the natural aroma of Japan Tea '' ; but a little further 
on we come across this equally emphatic and somewhat 
conflicting statement : *' The Japanese have been 
acknowledged born experts in hanclicrafts from ancient 
times. Japan Teas as first exported to America were 
the prtxluct of .'^killed handicraft, and although modern 
machinery methods have supplanted to a large extent 
the old hand manufacture, the so-called ' spider legs ' 
still exported, and ' mnlcha ' (powdered tea) and 
*gyok'uro' (dew drops) mostly for home consumption, 
represent the most artistic pro<luction of the tea-leaf." 
The total amount of tea exported by Japan in IIM I 
was 32,ls7,5"Ji kin— a kin is equal to 1 .'ll'i! lbs. avoir- 
dupois. The area under tea cultivation is about 
40,221 cho — a cho is equal to 24.') acres. 



64 TEA 



CHAPTER XIV 

IN JAPANESE TEA-LANDS {continued) 

A VERY active and progressive part as tea producer is 
played by the island of Formosa, which has been a 
Japanese possession since 1895. It is famous for a 
variety of tea known as " Oolong," which was first 
exported in 1867. 

A legend tells how it came to pass that this name 
" Oolong," which means " black dragon," was given to 
a particular kind of tea. The story runs that a native 
of the Province of Fukien, in China, was one day 
picking tea-leaves in his garden when he noticed that 
a certain tea-plant was giving forth a particularly 
fragrant odour. Upon examining this plant, he found 
a beautiful black snake curled round it. Beheving this 
snake to be a good omen, he plucked the leaves of the 
plant and made them into tea, when, to his delight 
he found that the product had a specially agreeable 
flavour not possessed by any other teas. 

Oolong Tea is neither a black tea nor a green tea, 
but a combination of both. Before infusion the pre- 
pared leaves look black ; the action of boiling water 
on them results in a beverage that combines the 
flavour of green tea and the odour of black tea. An 
examination of the leaves after the infusion treatment 
leads to an interesting discovery which throws light 
on this curious combination of characteristics. As 
witness to the fact that black tea is fermented during 
the course of manufacture, the leaves when infused are 
of a reddish-brown colour ; and as green tea does not 



IN JAPANESE TEA LANDS 66 

umlergo fermentation, the leaves remain green after 
infusion. Hut the leaf of (Oolong Tea after infusion i.s 
of a reildish-brown lolour rouiui the edge, while tlio 
middle part is green, showing that it has undergone 
fernuMitation round the edge oidy. 

Formosa is indebted for its Oolong tea-planti^ to some 
emigrants from the Fukien Province, who went over 
to the island in the early part of the nineteenth century. 
The climate and soil of this island have proved so 
favourable to the cultivation of this variety of tea- 
plant that it grows better in its adopted land than in 
its homeland. China produces several kinds of Oolong 
tea, sueh as Amoy Oolong, and Canton Oolong, but 
none to rival the finest quality Formosa Oolong. 

The plants are propagated by means of layers, for 
it is feared that young ones raised from seed might 
have some marked peculiarity of a remote ancestor, 
instead of the outstanding characteristics of the family 
breed. The method of cultivation in Formosa is very 
simple. The districts where the best tea is produced 
are in the north of the island, situated among the hills 
along the upper stream of the Tamsui River. Eight 
varieties of the Oolong plant are grown, and as each 
has certain fads and fancies as regards soil, the cuttings 
are planted out according to their variety in particular 
regions. The bushes begin to yield when they are 
three years old. The fields are weeded and ploughed 
four times a year, and the bushes are kept down, by 
pruning, to a height of from about IJ feet to 3 feet. 
Until quite recently it was thought that manuring 
would spoil the special character of Formosan tea, but 
a special fertilizer has now been discovered, and it is 
said that by the use of this the yield of tea eould bo 





66 TEA 

doubled without any injurious effect on the quaUty 
of the product. 

Since Formosa became a Japanese possession, the 
Japanese Government has done very much to foster 
the tea industry of the island, as witness the experi- 
mental station at Anpeichin. 

The harvest season starts in April and lasts until 
November, The leaves undergo a double process of 
manufacture. By a first method of treatment they 
are converted into crude tea in the producing districts ; 
the crude product is then taken to Daitotei, a borough 
of the city of Taihoku, where it is bought by dealers 
called " Chakwan," who refine it. Here is an official 
account of Oolong tea-making, as given by the Bureau 
of Productive Industries, Government of Formosa. 

" In manufacturing the crude tea, the following 
process is adopted : — 

" The leaves picked are scattered on the sallow 
bamboo baskets, each holding about two pounds, and 
they are exposed to the sun for a short time. When 
the leaves are withered, they are transferred to a 
separate chamber, where they are spread over shelves 
and left there for about thirty minutes to wither and 
ferment. Then the leaves are transferred to a larger 
bamboo basket, around which several workmen stand, 
and turn over these leaves rapidly for a little while. 
Again these leaves are distributed in small baskets, 
and then are placed upon the shelves in the chamber 
as before. When this process is repeated several 
times, the leaves become soft, and as the result of 
fermentation, they become reddish-brown colour round 
the edge and develop sweet odours. It requires con- 
siderable skill to cause iermentation of the leaves to 



IN JAPANESE TEA-LANDS 07 

the suitable extent. 1 Ijc8o leaves are then panned 
over a wood fire in order to prevent further fermenta- 
tion, and are transferred to the seeond panH near by. 
The leaves thus panned arc placed upon matting and 
are rolled, a considerable pressure being a|)plied, thus 
breaking the fibre and the cell of the tea-leaves. This 
process causes the leaves to emit pummy and pitchy 
substances, and when continued for eight to ten minutes, 
the leaves become rather sticky. These leaves are then 
place<l in bamboo trays, and the moisture is evaporated 
by means of mild charcoal Jircs. This completes the 
local preparation, and the crude tea is packed in tea 
bags and sent to the Daitotei market. The crude tea 
thus obtained represents about 24 per cent, in spring 
and 28 per cent, in summer, making an annual average 
of 25 per cent, of the weight of green leaves," 

Hundreds of junks are engaged in taking the crude 
tea to Daitotei, to be rctined. 

" The first process of refining is to separate dust and 
foreign matters from the leaves by means of baskets, 
and to sieve the same into several grades. The tea is 
then placed in bamboo baskets, and girls are put to 
work to separate bad leaves. Then the leaves are 
classified into several qualities, and the tea thus sorte<l 
goes through the process of refining over charcoal fire. 
This completes the second process, and the tea is 
packed in chests, each holding 40, 20, or 10 pounds. 

"The VenestA tea chest is sometimes used, but 
generally these chests are made of pine boards lined 
with lea lend, and paper pictures of birds, flowers and 
figures are fixetl on the outside bearing the l)rand of 
the respective merchant, and for export purposes the 
chests arc pocked in tea mats and bound with rattan.*' 



68 TEA 

The bulk of the crude Formosan tea is refined into 
Oolong Tea ; a small portion, however, is converted 
into Pouchong Tea. 

Pouchong is a very favourite variety of tea with 
the Chinese, who have made it for hundreds of 
years. But Formosa only began to manufacture it 
about 1879. The process of making this tea is as 
follows : — 

" The locally prepared tea is mixed with the flowers 
for scenting and kept in an air-tight chamber. When 
left in this manner for a few hours, the tea absorbs 
the fragrance of the flowers, and then the leaves are 
heated, thereby evaporating the moisture. Then the 
flowers used for scenting are carefully picked out. The 
Pouchong Tea is packed in chests in the same manner 
as the Oolong Tea." 

The production of tea in Formosa in 1910 was, — 
19,878,822 kin. The area under tea cultivation in this 
island is about 34,368 ku — a ko is equal to 2-45 acres. 



CHAPTER XV 

WORK AND PLAY IN THE TEA-LANDS OF JAVA 

A HIGHLY successful competitor in the tea industry 
is the Island of Java. Tea seed was first brought hither 
from Japan, in 1827, and experiments made in its 
cultivation at the world-famous Botanical Gardens at 
Buitenzorg. A little later on, seed was obtained from 
China, and tea-growing was begun as a commercial 
enterprise. 

The tea district of Java is in the west of the island. 
Nearly all the labourers employed both in gardens and 



WORK AND PLAY IN THE TEA-LANDS OF JAVA 69 

factories are Javanese ; a few are Sundanese. The bulk 
of the crop is converted into black teas. 

Whilst we arc in the tea-lands of Java, I must take 
you to an entertainment which will, I feel sure, afford 
you much amusement, and which will give you an idea 
of the way in which the labourers make merry when 
the day's work is done. 

We are in an estate's village, in the near neighbour- 
hood of some large tea-gardens. The time is evening, 
and by the light o( the stars we pick our way down a 
hill-side track, steering our steps as directly as possible 
towards a group of bright lights in a hollow close 
ahead. Upon reaching our destination, we find our- 
selves in a small, oblong market-place. The open- 
sided, rustic building in which we are standing, amidst 
a crowd of natives, is merelj^ a framework of rough- 
timber poles, whose sole duty it is to support a thatched, 
overhead covering ; the floor is of Mother Earth, which 
has been trodden hard and smooth during a long course 
of being well worn. Our glance begins to traverse 
an alley-way between stalls, but is quickly drawn to 
take a sweeping view at a general level slightly above 
our heads, and in a twinkling we get a first strong 
impression that the market-place has been elaborately 
and tastefully decorated with Paisley shawls, in honour 
of some festival. Cords stretched in all directions are 
hung with sarongs and kerchiefs, displayed for sale, 
and many of these printed cottons are exquisitely 
patterned with designs that closely resemble decora- 
tions such as we have become familiar with through 
those shawls that were so greatly treasured by mir 
great-grandmothers. 

Threading our way along a passage between stalls, 



70 TEA 

we reach the outskirts of a dense little gathering that 
has collected in one corner of the market-place. 
Evidently something of especial interest is going on — • 
people are craning their necks and watching for an 
opportunity to slip into a more advantageous standing- 
place, and all such good places as can be reached by 
climbing are fully occupied. By the courtesy of the 
crowd to us as strangers, we are soon standing in the 
front row of spectators, getting a near view of a novel, 
theatrical performance. A small square of the ground 
serves as stage. In the background squats the band. 
Seated to one side on the foreground is a man, who 
is the star artist and the sole living actor m the play 
that is being performed. On the upper shelf of a 
wooden stand within his arm's reach a large number 
of puppets have been carefully laid out, whilst higgledy- 
piggledy on a shelf beneath lie more puppets. The 
man is filling the role of actor-showman. The puppets 
are actors in a play that is in course of performance, 
and each has been " made up " and dressed to take 
a particular part ; the actor-showman says all their 
speeches for them. Evidently, a comic part in the 
dramatic story has just been reached as we pass mto 
the front rank of the audience, and take our stand on 
the scalloped border-line of a rough square, that marks 
the end of the auditorium and the beginning of the 
stage. We catch a glimpse of a court lady being put 
on the lower shelf, amongst the motley pile of all sorts 
and conditions of puppets which have already been 
through their turn. Then we see the showman select 
from tlie upper shelf a puppet with a monster head 
and jovial little face. This jester on a stick, supported 
by the right hand of the showman, cuts some clever 



WORK AXD PLAY IN THE TEA-LANDS OF JAVA 71 

and amusing capers ; the Rhowman speaks a few wordH, 
pauses, be^jins to sny something else, and is inter- 
rupted by a protest from the big tomtom. Looking 
very serious, the spokesman continues talking, but his 
merry tone of voice has suddenly changed to a dreary 
monotone ; presently, he again pauses, and now the 
audience, who have been smiling frequently during the 
la^t few minutes, laugh heartily. lOvidently the show- 
man knows how to make a good joke win its fair share 
of appreciation ; and although we cannot imtlcrstand 
his language, we laugh because the general merriment 
is infect ioiK. We watch the showman manipulating 
various other puppets, one by one, the while by facial 
CJtpression and gestures he plays their part with them, 
and with a voice over which he seems to have complete 
mastery, recites all their speeches in dramatic style. 
As we turn to make our way out through the crowd, 
the story has reached a point at which the hero seems 
to be on the villain's track : and at least half a dozen 
native babies are amusing themselves by crawling 
about the stage. 



cjiAi»'n:u XVI 

NUMEKOUS OTHER TEA-LANDS 

Amongst British com|)etitor8 in the world's tea in- 
dustry, the third phwe of honour ha** been won by 
Natal. And although at present the output of tea 
by Natal is small in comparison with that of India 
and Ceylon, it is equally true that this South African 
colony has so far outstripp«'<l any other liritish com- 
petitor that she is the only British rival in whose 



72 TEA 

activities India and Ceylon now feel it necessary to 
take a watchful interest. 

Natal first turned her attention to tea growing as a 
commercial enterprise in 1877, owing to the sudden 
collapse of her coffee industry. The coffee planters 
were on the verge of ruin when the chairman of the 
Lower Tugela Planters' Association, Mr. (now Sir) 
J. Liege Hulett, made his carefully considered sugges- 
tion as to the most promising way of dealing with the 
crisis. He pointed out that tea-plants were then 
flourishmg in several parts of Victoria County. True, 
they were not yielding good quality tea, but against 
this fact he pitted another — the plants had estabUshed 
themselves and were growing well in every district 
into which they had been introduced in this County. 
He argued, therefore, that the experiments which had 
already been made in tea cultivation led to the con- 
clusion that a tea industry could be estabUshed in Natal 
provided suitable seed was obtained. A few enthusi- 
astic supporters of this theory clubbed in with its 
advocate to provide money for conducting a further 
experiment, with seed from India ; and the Government 
came to their assistance with the promise to provide 
free freight for the seed from India to Durban. 

The seed was procured for the little syndicate by 
a friend in Calcutta, and despatched from that port 
early in January, 1877, in the chartered steamer 
Umvoti. Upon its arrival at Durban, about the 
middle of March of the same year, it was divided 
amongst the members of the sjmdicate in proportion 
to the amount of money contributed by each towards 
its importation, and immediately planted out in 
nurseries. 




t 1 
:: 8. 



I I! 



iil 



NUMEROUS OTHER TEA-LANDB 78 

From theee seeds, of the varieties Aftmm ituiigenoiiA 
and Assam hybrid, 4,000 neetilingH were succesHfully 
raised ; but at nhout the same time as they were |)lant<-<l 
out, a severe ilruuglit set in, and only I,i.'o(> survived 
the ordeal. It was now deeided that the best thing 
to be done waa to treat the survivors as the numbers 
of a seetl nursery, and patiently to await the lime, 
about three to four years hence, when they should in 
duo course begin to furnish a seed supply. 

The plants thrivtil and yielded u first supply of 8ee<l 
in 18S0. By 1H81 the helpful and encouraging career 
of these immigrants had led to a determined attempt 
to extend the (ultivation of the plant. Again mis- 
fortune dt»gge<l the enterpri.'^e ; drought and insect 
pests destroyed a large number «»f the young plants. 
Discouragement followed di.scouragement. but the 
pioneer planters fought so courageously, intelligently, 
and resolutely against all adversaries, that gradually 
the area under tea was increased, and a tea industry 
established. 

Natal now has upwards of 4,(XK) acres of tea-lands. 
The most successful gardens are situated at an altitude 
of about 1.<MK» feet above .sea-level. The variety of 
plant which has so far given the best account of itself 
in this country is the Assam indigenous. 

It is not so much the actual growth up to date of 
NataPs tea industry that has attracted the attention 
of other competitors, more es|)ecially of those Imperial 
relations who are hundreds of millions of pounds ahead 
of her in the annual produilion test, but the possi- 
bilitieti of Natal as a tea-producing country, and the 
ambition of her planters and of many other |)eople 
interested I in her welfare. The present position in 

10 



74 TEA 

relation to what the future may have in store is tersely 
and frankly summed up in the Natal Official Hand- 
book for 1911 : 

" Natal is capable of producing every ounce of tea 
consumed in South Africa, as the following figures will 
prove : There are at present under cultivation approxi- 
mately 4,000 acres of tea, and the total output for the 
Province is 2,000,000 pounds. The quantity of tea 
imported into Natal during the year 1910 was 
1,793,112 pounds, and the total imports into the whole 
of the South Africa Union were 5,006,405 pounds, thus 
showing that Natal does not produce more than 40 per 
cent, of the total requirements of South Africa. To 
emphasize the capabilities of the Province in respect 
of tea growing, it need only be mentioned that the 
area of the great tea-growing county (Victoria County) 
is 1,290 square miles, and that the magisterial divisions 
of Alexandra (on the South Coast) and Eshowe (Zulu- 
land) comprise an area of 779 and 690 square miles 
respectively, making a total of 2,759 square miles. 
Of course, it should not be inferred from this that all 
this land is suitable for tea growing ; but what it is in- 
tended to point out is that a belt of tea-land ex:tends 
right through the areas mentioned. Sufficient land 
to supply all the tea consumed in South Africa at the 
present time can be found in the Lower Tugela Division 
(Victoria County), but unfortunately most of it is in 
the hands of absentee landlords." 

The tea-plant has been introduced into many other 
lands, and in several instances the experiment has 
proved a success ; but for various reasons many 
countries in which the plant has shown its willingness 
to grow, have, as j-et, onty put comparatively small 



NUMEROUS OTHER TEA-LANDS 76 

areas under this crop. Chief among the minor tea- 
producing lands are the British West Indian Island of 
Jamaica ; the Ratoum region, in the C'auca.sUH, Russia ; 
the Andaman Islands. British India, in the Bay of 
Bengal ; Tongking. in French Indo-China ; the native 
State of Johore, in the Malay IVninfJula ; and the 
Fiji Isles, British crown colony, in the South Pacific 
Ocean. 

The leaves of several plants which do not belong to 
the tea family are used in the preparation of beverage- 
giving products, both product and beverage being 
spoken of as " tea." Chief amongst these preparations 
is the famous Paraguaj'' tea, or Yerba de Mate, which 
is one of South America's most important products. 
Ita source is a shrub belonging to the Holly family, 
which flourishes in Brazil and Paraguay. South 
America uses several million pounds of mate annually : 
the bulk of the output is contributed by Paraguay. 
At present Europe only takes small quantities of mate, 
but there are rumours afloat of a scheme to bring this 
product more before the notice of European and other 
foreign markets. 



CHAPTER XVII 

now TEA LEAVES HOME 

Tf\ htm many adventures during its long jouniey to 
market. F'irst it has to go to the chief port of the 
district where it is obtained. In Ceylon, the port 
of Colombo is the distribution dej)ot. The tea, packed 
in wooden cases which bear the name of the estate 
and that «>f the particular variety of the enclosure. 



76 TEA 

starts off from the factories in bullock-waggons. A 
" tea-caravan," consisting of a long procession of 
waggons, each with a thatched-tunnel awning, and 
each drawn by two bullocks, is a common sight in 
Ceylon ; anyone who has seen such a procession 
wending its way under the charge of native drivers, 
along the tracks amidst the magnificent hill-scenery 
of this island, will often conjure up a memory of this 
picturesque spectacle, and experience again the joy 
born of its old-world atmosphere. Usually the tea 
is taken by the bullock-waggons to a local railway 
station, and thence by train to Colombo, where it is 
met by more bullock-waggons, and conveyed to some 
warehouse. 

The time has now arrived for the tea to be sold to 
merchants. The stock in the warehouses is under 
the charge of various agents, who represent the 
estates. These agents ship some of the tea abroad, 
to be sold by public auction. But a large proportion 
of the Ceylon output is sold by public auction in 
Colombo. 

In the case of stock that is to be disposed of through 
the Colombo Tea Exchange, the agents employ brokers, 
who act as salesmen. The brokers prepare catalogues, 
wherein particulars are set forth of the teas they have 
been instructed to sell — these particulars are a tabulated 
statement of such details as the name of the estate 
from which a consignment of tea has been received, the 
grade names of the various teas in that consignment, 
and the number of chests containing a uniform weight 
of each grade. The sale catalogues are sent round to 
merchants, together with samples of each of the teas 
referred to therein. From each sample received by 



HOW TEA LEAVES HOME 77 

any one fimi, an infusion of tea is prepared, to be judged 
by experts called "tea-tasters," A tea-taster who is 
going to act as buyer at the coming sale samples the 
contentvS of numerous cups, which are put ready for 
him on long tables ; from each cup he takes a mouthful, 
submits the liquid to the test of his critical j)alate — 
he does not swallow the liquid — and writes down in 
hia catalogue the top price he is prepared to pay for 
the tea, corresponding with the sample from which 
the beverage he has just tasted was made. 

Once a week the brokers sell by auction at the Tea 
Exchange. To the sale-room come the buyers, with 
their marked catalogues ; in bidding, they never go 
above the top prices jotted down by them at the 
time of tasting, and, naturally, they try to get the teas 
knocked down to them at a lower price. There is no 
tea to be seen in the sale-room. 

After the auction, the cases of tea are transferred 
from the agent's warehouses to the warehouses of the 
merchants to whom they have been sold. 

Some of the tea purchased at the Public Sales in 
Colombo is exported in the chests in which it is 
despatched from the estates ; such exports are termed 
" loose " teas. They go direct to the headquarters, 
in New York and other large cities, of the merchants 
who have purchased them. 

But a very great deal of the tea bought on the 
Colombo Exchange is specially packed for export to 
foreign markets. Well-known firms, such as Messrs. 
Harrisons and Crosfield, of London fame, have large 
mills in Colombo, where Ceylon tea is blended and 
packed ; by the courtesy of this firm, we were able, when 
in Colombo, to pay a visit to their famous Victoria 



78 TEA 

Mills, one of the busiest hives of industry in the capital 
of Ceylon. 

In a spacious yard, fronting a large building, stand 
a number of bullock-waggons. Loading and unloading 
operations are being actively pursued ; some men are 
bringing out packing-cases and taking them over 
towards a row of empty waggons on one side of the 
yard, whilst others are transferring cases indoors 
from a row of heavily laden waggons on the opposite 
side. 

On the threshold of the main entrance we are met by 
the manager, who makes us very welcome, and proceeds 
to show us round. The very first scene that meets our 
eyes seems a familiar one to us ; men are turnmg over 
a big mound of tea with shovels, and we jump to the 
conclusion that they are bulking. We learn from our 
guide, however, that these men are not mixing together 
batches of tea which are all supposed to be of the same 
quality ; they are " blending " batches of ready- 
bulked teas, that is to say mixing together teas of 
different quaHties with the object of forming a com- 
pound that is uniform in appearance and quality. 
Teas are blended up to a standard of quaUty that is 
fix:ed by the importer ; and in fixing this standard the 
importer has to take into consideration — 

1. The price at which the mixture is to be sold. 
Different quality teas can be mixed in any proportion, 
always provided that the average cost price of a pound 
of the mixture does not exceed a certain fixed sum. 

2. The particular taste of certain customers. Blend- 
ing affects flavour ; by a solution of the proportion 
problem a blend of a certain popular flavour is pro- 
duced within a fixed_^ price hmit. 



HOW TEA LEAVES HOME 79 

3. The appearance of the tea. Importers arc aa 
particular about the appearance as about the quality 
of tea, for they know that customers are largely 
influenced by the look of food supplies. DifTerent 
people have diiTerent ideas as to what are " good 
looks " in tea, and the various fancies of customers 
in thi.'' respect have to be studied in the production of 
blends. 

4. The water of the district in which the tea is going 
to be used. As the hardness or softness of the water 
that is used for making tea in the pot affec ts the quality 
of the beverage, one very important aim of blending 
is to produce a mixture that will give the best ( up of 
tea when exposed to the action of the particular kind 
of water commonly used in the locality for which it 
is destined. 

Various mechanical contrivances have been invented 
for performing the blending operation, but none of 
these is considered to be so satisfactory as the hand 
method. 

In walking round the Mills we are very favourably 
impressed by the cleanliness of our surroundings ; 
rooms, people, implements, all are doing their share in 
proclaiming that British tea is pure tea. The labourers, 
men, women, and children, are nearly all Tamils ; 
here and there, amidst some picturesque group, wo 
espy a Sinhalese. The members of one very attractive 
group are sitting, Kastern fasliion, on the floor, around 
a slightly elevated platfonu. They are weighing tea, 
and, as the scales balance, shooting it into little tinfoil 
packing-cases. A neighbouring gang closes down the 
mouth of the packets, and hands them to the soldering 
gang. The jrackets having been hermetically sealed. 



80 TEA 

they are passed on to another gang, whose duty it is 
to enfold them in paper wrappers. The wrappers vary 
in colour, and are very communicative, as well as decora- 
tive, " contents bills/' Finally, the packets are 
arranged in layers within wooden cases, which, when 
they are full to the brim, are nailed down. The tinfoil 
pa^ckets contain such weights of tea as are commonly 
asked for by the customers for whom they are specially 
put up ; America, for instance, requires tea to be put 
up in packets of which six go to the pound. 

The electric weigher both interests and amuses us 
very much. Two scales, on a pivot, are incessantly 
turning somersaults. Tea falls down a chute into one 
scale, and when the right weight to a leaf has been 
received, the supply is automatically cut off. The one 
scale shoots its contents into a packing-case, ducks 
down, and up comes the other scale to go through a 
similar performance. 

For some markets, such as South Africa, tea is packed 
loose into wooden cases. These cases are very gaily 
bedecked with stencilled pictures of scenes in Ceylon 
tea-lands. 

From the packeting and packing department, we 
go on to the box-making department. And thence 
we are conducted by our kindly host to a pretty 
bungalow, where we have a delightfully Enghsh four 
o'clock tea on a veranda overlooking a beautiful 
tropical garden. 



now TKA LKAV1>^ IIOMK 81 

CHAPTER XVIII 

now TEA LEAVES HOME {continued) 

In India, clo|)hanl« do a share of the local transport 
work ; boat.** and trains are. however, the principal 
conveyances in which tea travels to the distributing 
ports. Calcutta is the hub of the Indian tea trade ; 
here large quantities of tea are sold, and from this port 
enormous shipments are sent abroad, for sale by public 
auction in other markets. Much of the tea sold in 
Calcutta is blended and packetcd there ; and it is a 
particularly noteworthy fact that a considerable pro- 
portion of the tea which is thus made quite ready for 
the retail market, is bought by the residents in Calcutta 
and other Indian cities which have a big European 
population. People who live in a district which j'ields 
in abundance a certain product in the nature of a food 
supply, are apt to send that product abroad accom- 
panied by attractive invitations to the foreigner to 
use it in his home, the while they set the very ba<l 
example of never using it in their oMm homes. For 
instance, in Greece, the land of currants, practically 
no one patronizes currants — at least, so I was led to 
conclude by my e.xjjeriences in that country not very 
long ago. 

In the north of India, Chittagong is the other 
famous distributing port for tea. South Indian teas 
are exporte<i from Tuticorin, Calicut, Cochin. Allepi)oy, 
and Quilon. 

In China, junks arc a feature of the local trangport 
service. 

II 



82 TEA 

Tea usually leaves home for foreign lands in big 
steamers. The most notable exception to this rule is 
found in the method of transporting brick tea from 
China to Tibet. The bricks, done up in bamboo 
wrappers, travel by " cooUe caravans " ; numbers of 
them are fastened together into loads, and the loads 
are shouldered by men and women, who set off in 
parties to carry them to their destination. 

Many Steamship Companies now carry tea across 
the seas. But the connection of the Peninsular and 
Oriental Steam Navigation Company with this trade 
is particularly interesting, for it is a link with the days 
when tea travelled in sailing ships, and had most 
enviable, adventurous voyages in those romantic 
vessels. 

The days when the beautiful sailing cHppers raced 
home from China round the Cape, for the honour — 
and profit — of bringing to port the first cargo of " new 
season's tea," passed away finally with the opening of 
the Suez Canal. Such ships, with some such dashing 
name as the Cutty Sark, got their living by carrying on 
the exchange of Western commodities for China tea, 
at a time when tea was still rather a luxury than a 
necessity, and when all grades of tea commanded a 
much higher price in European markets than is the 
case to-day. These ships were, so to speak, bred for 
the sport ; long, narrow, deep, and fast — not carrying 
much as cargo bulk is measured nowadays — the highly 
profitable nature of their trade rendered the employ- 
ment of these " thoroughbreds " practicable ; and 
there is more than one recorded mstance of two or 
more evenly matched tea-clippers leaving Woosing 
simultaneously for the same destination, usually the 







ft Vv:^d^^-^>«\] 







HOW TEA LKAVES HOMK 83 

Thames, aiui arriving so nearly together that every 
mile of the raeo half round the world munt have been 
keenly sporting for those on board. The first steamers 
to make inroads on the sail-propelled carrier's preser\'e8 
were those of the I*, and (). Company, which were, in 
fact, the earliest, and for some years the only ones, 
in Chinese waters. 

Nearly all the tea forwarded to Kngland is the 
property of the producers ; in other words, it lias yet 
to be sold to merchants. I'poii its arrival in London. 
a shipment of tea is usually met by an agent of the 
producers, who sees it into bond. A duty of fivepenco 
per pound is payable on tea ; the Covernraent not only 
oblige by allowing payment of the duty to stand over 
until such time as the tea is sold and the purchaser 
wants to remove it from the custody of His Majesty's 
Customs, but require the importing agents to put every 
shipment into one of the oflicial warehou.ses in order 
that it may be examined. For the law does its best 
to prote<t the British public against adulterated tea. 
Tea that is not tit for consumption stands but a poor 
chance of parsing the Customs Authorities ; and if any 
impure stock gets into the market, all dealers have 
their own interests to serve in seeing that such stock 
is destroyed, for, under the Sale of Food and Dnigs 
Act, anyone who offers atlulterated tea for sale is liable 
to prosecution. 

'J'he world's reoonl for the biggest Public Sales of 
tea is held by I^ondon, and the scene of the auctioneering 
activities is Mil ' me. The method of conducting 

the Sales is j !iy the same as that whi«h I 

explained to 5'ou in connection with the Colombo Tea 
Exchange. Teas from all the important producing 



84 TEA 

countries are sold in Mincing Lane, special days in 
the week being respectively devoted to putting up 
" lots " of Indians, Ceylons, Chinas, and Javas. 

In London, too, the fine art of blending is practised 
by numbers of highly skilled speciaUsts, and in many 
of the large mercantile warehouses of this great city 
an army of labourers is constantly employed in packing 
and packeting tea. And London not only distributes 
tea throughout the United Kingdom, but re-exports 
this commodity to foreign markets. 



CHAPTER XIX 

THE CUP THAT CHEERS 

There are no statistics to tell us how much tea is 
consumed yearly by the Chinese and Japanese. But 
amongst all other tea-drinking nations, the people of 
the United Kingdom, taken as a whole, use the largest 
amount of the product per annum. In 1911 the total 
amount of tea consumed by the " leading customer " 
was 296,000,000 pounds, or 6| pounds per head of 
population : of this, 169,250,000 pounds, or rather more 
than 57 per cent., was purchased from India ; 90,500,000 
pounds from Ceylon ; 14,500,000 pounds from China ; 
and 21,750,000 pounds from Java and other tea-lands. 
The next big customer is Russia, in whose domains 
about 147,132,000 pounds of tea were used in 1910, the 
latest year for which, at this time when I am acting as 
your guide, a comparative list of tea-trade figures is 
available for reference. The average consumption 
per head in the Russian Empire works out at a 
Kttle under 1 poimd. Russia buys the bulk of her 



THE CUP THAT CHEERS 85 

ton from China ; but she tnkes large supphcs from 
Ceylon — being, in fact, one of that island's principal 
customers — and also from India. 

The United States come third among the purchasers 
of large quantities of tea for home consumption. In 
1910 they used s.3,29S.n()() pounds— about the same 
average amount per head of population as Russia. 
They are Japan's best customer, and they also 
place big orders with China; but Indian and Ceylon 
teas are becoming more and more popular in the 
States. The Government looks very carefully after 
the interests of all tea drinkers, and a special law has 
been passed in the particular interest of the green-tea 
drinkers. In 1S97 an Act came into force " to prevent 
the importation of impure and unwholesome tea " ; and 
on May 1, 191 1, a new regulation strengthened it by the 
decree that no teas imported for home consumption 
were to be artificially coloured or faced in any manner. 

Other important tea-drinking countries are Canada, 
Australia. Holland, CJermany, and New Zealand ; but 
their annual purchases arc much smaller than those of 
the three principal customers for the world's tea. For 
instance, in the J'ear ending March 31, 1910-11, Canada 
bought 34,259,000 pounds of tea for home use ; and 
in 1910, (Germany bought 0,875,000 pounds. Canada 
favours British - grown teas. Australia and New 
Zealand do likewise, showing a marked preference for 
Ceylon teas. Holland places a large share of her 
annual onler with her colony of Java. Germany buys 
more than half her supply from China. 

New Zealand holds the reeonl for the largest annual 
consumption of tea per person ; in 19o9, the average 
per head of the population was 7- 45 pounds. 



86 TEA 

Trade records furnish much interesting information 
concerning changes that have been made by various 
countries in the placing of their orders for tea, such 
changes marking victory after victory for India and 
Ceylon. Until recently, China was taking her beating 
lying down. Now, an enlightened minority is trying 
to induce the tea -farmers to renounce traditional 
methods of cultivation and manufacture, and adopt 
the new methods which are practised by their rivals. 
Competition has not led to any serious decrease of the 
area under tea in China, and this country, as I have 
told you, still holds the record for quantity of output. 
In the scope which she has for transforming the immense 
quantities of inferior, hand-prepared teas now produced 
into superior quaUty, machine-manufactured teas, 
Chma has great possibihties for carrying the trade war 
into the rival's camp. 

In talking statistics, which are apt to be exhausting, 
we have come to our journey's end, and the time for 
us to part company is at hand. A cup of tea will be 
refreshing to mmds that have been trying to grasp 
the significance of figures that run into millions ; and 
I think you will agree with me that we cannot do better 
than finish our v/ander-tour, as we began it, over the 
cup that cheers. As we drink farewell, I should like 
to satisfy myself that^you know the elementary rules, 
at least, of the art of making tea in the pot. 

Of course, you have been told always to " warm the 
pot " before you put the tea in. But it is not so gener- 
ally understood that the water poured on the leaves 
must be fresh, and freshly boiled. I have already 
warned you that care should be taken to select a tea 
that suits the water to be used. Now comes the ixn- 



THE CUP THAT CHEERS 87 

{)ort<ant stage in which the tea ia to be left to " draw." 
It is required to extract from the leaves as much as 
possible of tlicir thcine, or caffeine, to which the 
stimulating and sustaining power of tea is chielly due. 
But the leaves also contain tamiin. Tannin is an 
astringent, and therefore htus a medicinal value — for 
centuries, be it noted, the Chinese used tea exclusively 
as a metlicine. But tannin has a tendency to retard 
the digestion of some foods, and this tendency has 
been so exaggerated that some people believe tea can 
make leather of both food and the coats of the stomach. 
As a matter of fact, tea is very effectually prevented 
from acting as a tanning agent through the paralyzing 
influence of the alkaloid theine on the tannic acid. 
As, however, tannin can affect the natural process of 
digestion — hindering one change is a very different 
thing from effecting a totally different change — there 
is wisdom in taking care not to swallow overdoses of 
it. How much would constitute an overdose for any 
of us depends to a considerable extent on the health 
and strength of our digestion. But anyone who is not 
afflicted with an extraordinarily poor digestion has 
nothing to fear from the tannin in tea that is properly 
made, provided it is not taken in conjunction with a 
heavy meat meal. Some people — I, for one — can 
drink tea with any meal, and still be able truthfully 
to say they do not know what indigestion means. 

Theine is much more soluble than tannin. In the 
course of about three minutes, boiling water extracts 
a large percentage of thcine from the fresh tea in a pot, 
and a small percentage of tannin ; in subsequent 
minutes the extraction of tannin will still be going on. 
but the amount of theine in the " draw " will be very 



88 TEA 

little increased. Now you can understand why tea 
should not be allowed to stew. A properly prepared 
draw of tea is never left standing on the leaves, but is 
poured off into a well-warmed, empty teapot. The 
addition of milk to a cup of tea helps to hinder the tea 
from impeding digestion. 

Tea is not commonly drunk with milk in all parts 
of the world, nor is it alwaj^s made by the simple aid 
of boihng water. The Russians, for instance, put a 
shce of lemon in their tea ; and the Tibetans make a 
paste of warmed flour and butter, flavour it with a 
strong decoction of tea, add milk or water for the 
purpose of dilution, and then churn the mixture. 



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12 full-page Illustrations in Colour by 
Allan Stewart 


By Harriet Beechkr Stowk 

UNCLE TOM'S CABIN 

8 full-page Illustrations in Colour and many 
others in the text 



PUBLISHED BV A. AND C. BLACK, 4, 5 AND 6 SOHO SQUARB, LONDON, W. 

( 8 ) 



THE 



PEEPS 



SERIES 



1 ' liv Kov. CiiAMLk!. A lUi-L. l-.K.M i> . Aiitluif i.l Tlw ' i- ■ 

I . I N'Alure." etc. ICach cunlaintnK if> full pngc illnsfn»ii<'iiv. t 
Inch are in colour. I<arge crown hv.i.. clotli. pu im. 

PriM It. ed. net en^ h 

WILD FLOWERS AND THEIR WONDERFUL WAYS. 1 

\ II , I i M - 

BIRD LIFE OF THE SEASONS. lU U . lit., i.u \\». ii.ii. 

II- 

BRITISH LAND MAMMALS. l:v \ \ :<>i .Simi'non, F.Z.S. 

BRITISH BUTTKRFLIKS. In \ M ^iia\hi 

BRITISH FERNS. CLUB-MOSSES. AND hORSETAILS. I 

NATURAL HISTORY OF THE GARDEN. lA W . I'nitciVAi. 

ROMANCE OF THE ROCKS Uv ko. Cmarlks A. Il\ti, 



.'rs ami any one of lh« «olum>-% will nuulc an raccllcni •cbnol reader. 

PEEPS .\T HISTOK^. 

1 .. 1. V..I, ,„,.., ,,nt.linirj{ ^ lull |:.1>,«- lilu ::..: • .n.l mimi 

•- iiid while ftketchc;« m tUv tcxi. l-.-»ri;<- 1 1 

; Price It 6d net earji 

AMKRICA 1 iwKMokt INDIA. Mv |.»iin | inn» \i 

BARBARY ROVERS. H> J.»ii JAPAN. lU Ins 1 

s» M<>Ki: 

CANADA. Hv Bkatkk » ll-'Mt SCOTLANI'. 
HOLLAND ilyJoHNl 



tha pabltUio laiarvaU •olaaw* iImUmb viik ail ib« 

■im/.'ttt iitl ■•• r,-:t.»:fi n tkt ■ /'.//. ,,<ti: . . I. ml -n mff. ■■ it .■•' 



rVllLIIIMRP < V Ar>AM AND CHARi KK |l|.\CK. 4 lU^IIO KgCARB. IONI»>><. ^V 



Blac k's 

< l^iiV^^^fiT jSy Lands Series 

AND Clg-^ER Xc^KfS IN THK SAME SERIES 
N -«-''' •- /l/6 Each 




RATIONS, 32 OF WHICH ARK IN COLOUR 

Quarto, 10x7^ incJies 

AN importarkfe^ure of this series is the beautiful illustrations in 
colour, of which each volume contains 32. Many of these ha\e 
been taken from Messrs. IMack's famous series of ' ' Colour Books, ' ' and 
arc hardly to be distinjiuished from exquisite water-colour drawing's. 
The volumes also contain 26 illustratious in black and white, and are 
tastefully bound in picture boards. 



THE WORLD IN PICTURES. By C. von Wyss. 
THE CHILDREN S WORLD. By S. Shenessev. 

Containing the same Illustrations as THE WORLD IN PICTURES, 
but with a more 'ilementary Text. 

THE BRITISH ISLES IN PICTURES. 

15y H. L"i.i\E Barnard, M.A., B. Litt. 

THE BRITISH EMPIRE IN PICTURES. 

Hy H Clive Barnard, iM.A,, B.Litt 

HOW OTHER PEOPLE LIVE 

By H. Clive Barnard, M.A., B.Litt. 

EUROPE IN PICTURES By H. Clive Barnard, MA., B.Litt. 

/.\' THE SAME SERIES. 
GARDENS IN THEIR SEASONS. By C. von Wvss. 
BEASTS AND BIRDS. By C. von Wvss. 
PICTURES OF BRITISH HISTORY. By E. L. IIoskvn, B.A. 



SOME PRESS OPINIONS 

" Every child who loves lo hear of strange scenes will revel in these pages " (" The 
World in Pictures '). — Dundee Advertiser. 

" The underlying charm of this fascinating book for children will be found in its 
delightful simplicity ... it should prove a valuable means of conveying to the .childish 
imagination a delicate first impression of the beauty and wonder of our world "(" The 
World in Pictures"). — The IVoinan Teachers World. 

" The little folk who are tempted from the gay pictu es to the attractive letterpress 
which describes them will meet here one of those born gardeners of the seeds of knowledge, 
who become as children themselves to open out to the little ones a glimpse of the poetry 
of earth " (" Gardens in their Seasons '). — The Athenceuiit. 

PUBLISHED BY ADAM AND CHARLES BLACK, 4 SOHO SQUARE, LONDON, W. 



7 



199 



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CARDS OR SLIPS FROM THIS POCKET 

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO LIBRARY